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The Life 
Everlasting 

hy Marie Corelli 

In this singular, powerful and 
compelling novel, Nfarie Cordli 
returns to the inspiration which 
first brought her fame ^^ die 
psychic and the occult. Widi 
starding audacity of imagina^ 
tion she records die love-story 
of a mortal and immortal pas«- 
sion which breaks down die 
barriers by which this material 
world is environed. 

The heroine is a woman of our 
own day«^she writes die amaz- 
ing history in the first person 
of how she bridged the gulf of 
time and space and dt^ the 
lover to her who had distandy 
followed her down the ages. 

The peculiar color, grip and 
fascination of ^The Life Ever^ 
lasting'* are without parallel in 
recent fiction. Once read, it 
haunts and invades the imagina- 
tion with a hundred delightful 
conjectures of hope and faith. 

Other books by Marie Corelli: 

barabbas 

inncx:ent 

the master christian 

sorrows of satan 

Etc 



THE LIFE EVERLASTING 



Copyright, 1911 
Bj Gbouox H. Dorak Conpamv 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTBR 

L 

IL 

in. 

IV. 

V. 

VI. 

VII. 

VIII. 

IX. 

X. 

XL 

XII. 

XIII. 

XIV. 

XV. 

XVI. 

XVII. 

XVIII. 

XIX. 



Author's Prologue 






PAO& 

7 


The Heroine Begins Her Stort , 




• 


. 37 


The Fairy Ship . . . , 






» 58 


The Angel of a Dream • « 






► 73 


A Bunch of Heather • • < 






83 


An Unexpected Meeting 






► 103 


Recognition 






123 


Memories 






. 141 


Visions 






. 164 


Doubtful Destiny . • • . 






» 197 


Strange Associations • • , 






. 3l8 


One Way of Love • . . , 






. 241 


A Love-Letter • • • « 






» 270 


The House of Aselzion . < 






: ZOO 


Cross and Star • • • < 






• 323 


A First Lesson • . • , 






^ 343 


Shadow and Sound 






. 357 


The Magic Book . • • < 






. 371 


Dreams Within a Dream • < 






. 386 


The Unknown Deep • • < 






 M 


Into the Light • • • « 






. 4»* 



THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

A REALITY OF ROMANCE 

AUTHOR'S PROLOGUE 

In the Gospels of the only Divine Friend this world has 
ever had or ever will have, we read of a Voice, a ' Voice 
in the Wilderness.' There have been thousands of such 
Voices; — ^most of them ineffectual. All through the world's 
history their echoes form a part of the universal record, 
and from the very beginning of time they have sounded 
forth their warnings or entreaties in vain. The Wilderness 
has never cared to hear them. The Wilderness does not 
care to hear them now. 

Why, then, do I add an undesired note to the chorus 
of rejected appeal ? How dare I lift up my voice in the Wil- 
derness, when other voices, far stronger and sweeter, are 
drowned in the laughter of fools and the mockery of the 
profane? Truly, I do not know. But I am sure that I 
am not moved by egotism or arrogance. It is simply out 
of love and pity for suffering human kind that I venture 
to become another Voice discarded — a voice which, if 
heard at all, may only serve to awaken the cheap scorn and 
derision of the clowns of the piece. 

Yet, should this be so, I would not have it otherwise. 
I have never at any time striven to be one with the world, 
or to suit my speech pliantly to the conventional humour 
of the moment. I am often attacked, yet am not bMtV.\ 

7 



8 PROLOGUE 

I am equally often praised, and am not elated. I have 
no time to attend to the expression of opinions, which, 
whether good or bad, are to me indifferent. And whatever 
pain I have felt or feel, in experiencing human malice, 
has been, and is, in the fact that human malice should 
exist at all, — not for its attempted wrong towards myself. 
For I, personally speaking, have not a moment to waste 
among the mere shadows of life which are not Life itself. 
I follow the glory, — ^not the gloom. 

So whether you, who wander in darkness of your own 
making, care to come towards the little light which leads 
me onward, or whether you prefer to turn away from me 
altogether into your self -created darker depths, is not my 
concern. I cannot force you to bear me company. God 
Himself cannot do that, for it is His Will and Law that 
each human soul shall shape its own eternal future. No 
one mortal can make the happiness or salvation of another. 
I, like yourselves, am in the ' Wilderness,' — ^but I know 
that there are ways of making it blossom like the rose! 
Yet, — were all my heart and all my love outpoured upon 
you, I could not teach you the Divine transfiguring charm, 
— ^unless you, equally with all your hearts and all your 
love, resolutely and irrevocably willed to learn. 

Nevertheless, despite your possible indifference, — ^your 
often sheer inertia — I cannot pass you by, having peace 
and comfort for myself without at least offering to share 
that peace and comfort with you. Many of you are very 
sad, — and I would rather you were happy. Your ways of 
living are trivial and unsatisfactory — ^your so-called ' pleas- 
ant ' vices lead you into unforeseen painful perplexities — 
your ideals of what may be best for your own enjoyment 
and advancement fall far short of your dreams, — ^your 
amusements pall on your over-wearied senses, — ^your youth 



PROLOGUE 9 

hurries away like a puff of thistledown on the wind, — and 
you spend all your time feverishly in trying to live without 
understanding Life. Life, the first of all things, the es- 
sence of all things, — Life which is yours to hold and to 
keep, and to re-create over and over again in your own 
persons, — ^this precious jewel you throw away, and when 
it falls out of your possession by yotu* own act, you think 
such an end was necessary and inevitable. Poor unhappy 
mortals! So self-sufficient, so proud, so ignorant! Like 
some foolish rustic, who, finding a diamond, stts no dif- 
ference between it and a bit of glass, you, with the whole 
Universe sweeping around you in mighty beneficent circles 
of defensive, protective and ever re-creative power, — ^power 
which is yours to use and to control — ^imagine that the 
entire Cosmos is the design of mere blind unintelligent 
Chance, and that the Divine Life which thrills within you 
serves no purpose save to lead you to Death! Most won- 
derful and most pitiful it is that such folly, such blasphemy 
should still prevail, — and that humanity should still ascribe 
to the Almighty Creator less wisdom and less love than 
that with which He has endowed His creatures. For the 
very first lesson in the beginning of knowledge is that Life 
is the essential Being of God, and that each individual 
intelligent outcome of Life is deathless as God Himself. 

The * Wilderness' is wide, — and within it we all find, 
ourselves, — some wandering far astray — some crouching 
listlessly among shadows, too weary to move at all — others, 
sauntering along in idle indifference, now and then vaguely 
questioning how soon and where the journey will end, — 
and few ever discovering that it is not a ' Wilderness ' at 
all, but a garden of sweet sights and sounds, where every 
day should be a glory and every night a benediction. For 
when the veil of mere Appearances has beetv l\i\fcdi ^^ "^x^ 



10 PROLOGUE 

no longer deceived into accepting what Seems for what Is. 
The Reality of Life is Happiness; — ^the Delusion of Life, 
which we ourselves create by improper balance and imper- 
fect comprehension of our own powers, must needs cause 
Sorrow, because in such self-deception we only dimly see 
the truth, just as a person bom blind may vaguely guess 
at the beauty of bright day. But for the Soul that has 
found Itself, there are no more misleading lights or shadows 
between its own everlastingness and the everlastingness of 
God. 

All the world over there are religions of various kinds, 
more or less suited to the various types and races of hu- 
manity. Most of these forms of faith have been evolved 
from the brooding brain of Man himself, and have nothing 
* divine ' in them. In the very early ages nearly all the 
religious creeds were mere methods for terrorising the ig- 
norant and the weak — and some of them were so revolting, 
so bloodthirsty and brutal, that one cannot now read of 
them without a shudder of repulsion. Nevertheless, from 
the very first dawn of his intelligence, man appears always 
to have felt the necessity of believing in something stronger 
and more lasting than himself, — ^and his first gropings for 
truth led him to evolve desperate notions of something 
more cruel, more relentless, and more wicked than himself, 
rather than ideals of something more beautiful, more just, 
more faithful and more loving than he could be. The 
dawn of Christianity brought the first glimmering sugges- 
tion that a gospel of love and pity might be more serviceable 
in the end to the needs of the world, than a ruthless code 
of slaughter and vengeance — ^though history shows us that 
the annals of Christianity itself are stained with crime and 
shamed by the shedding of innocent blood. Only in these 
latter days has the world become faintly conscious of the 



PROLOGUE 11 

real Force working behind and through all things — the 
soul of the Divine, or the Psychic element, animating and 
inspiring all visible and invisible Nature. This soul of 
the Divine — ^this Psychic element, however, is almost en- 
tirely absent from the teaching of the Christian creed to-day, 
with the result that the creed itself is losing its power. I 
venture to say that a very small majority of the millions 
of persons worshipping in the various forms of the Chris- 
tian Church really and truly believe what they publicly pro- 
fess. Clergy and laity alike are tainted with this worst 
of all hypocrisies — that of calling God to witness their faith 
when they know they are faithless. It may be asked how 
I dare to make such an assertion ? I dare, because I know ! 
It would be impossible to the people of this or any other 
country to honestly believe the Christian creed, and yet 
continue to live as they do. Their lives give the lie to 
their avowed religion, and it is this daily spectacle of the 
daily life of governments, trades, professions and society 
which causes me to feel that the general aspect of Christen- 
dom at the present day, with all its Churches and solemn 
observances, is one of the most painful and profound hypoc- 
risy. You who read this page, — (possibly with indigna- 
tion) you call yourself a Christian, no doubt. But are you? 
Do you truly think that when death shall come to you it 
is really not death, but the simple transition into another 
and better life? Do you believe in the actual immortality 
of your soul, and do you realise what it means ? You do ? 
You are quite sure? Then, do you live as one convinced 
of it? Are you quite indifferent to the riches and purely 
material advantages of this world? — ^are you as happy in 
poverty as in wealth, and are you independent of social 
esteem ? Are you bent on the very highest and most unself- 
ish ideals of life and conduct ? I do not say you are tvol^ 



12 PROLOGUE 

I merely ask if you ore. If your answer is in the affirmative, 
do not give the He to your creed by your daily habits, 
conversation and manners; for this is what thousands of 
professing Christians do, and the clergy are by no means 
exempt. 

I know very well, of course, that I must not expect your 
appreciation, or even your attention, in matters purely spirit- 
ual. The world is too much with you, and you become 
obstinate of opinion and rooted in prejudice. Nevertheless, 
as I said before, this is not my concern. Your moods are 
not mine, and with your prejudices I have nothing to do. 
My creed is drawn from Nature — ^Nature, just, invincible, 
yet tender — Nature, who shows us that Life, as we know 
it now, at this very time and in this very world, is a blessing 
so rich in its as yet unused powers and possibilities, that 
it may be truly said of the greater majority of human 
beings that scarce one of them has ever begun to learn how 
to live. 

Shakespeare, the greatest human exponent of human 
nature at its best and worst, — ^the profound Thinker and 
Artist who dealt boldly with the facts of good and evil 
as they truly are, — and did not hesitate to contrast them 
forcibly, without any of the deceptive * half-tones ' of vice 
and virtue which are the chief stock-in-trade of such modem 
authors as we may call ' degenerates,* — makes his Hamlet 
exclaim : — 

*'What a piece of work is man! — how noMe in 
reason ! — ^how infinite in faculty f — ^in form and moving 
how express and admirable! — ^in action how like an 
angel ! — in apprehension how like a god ! ** 

Let us consider two of these designations in particular: 
* How infinite in faculty ! ' — ^and * In apprehension how lifce 



PROLOGUE 13 

a god ! ' The sentences are prophetic, like so many of 
Shakespeare's utterances. They foretell the true condition 
of the Soul of Man when it shall have discovered its capa- 
bilities. * Infinite in faculty ' — ^that is to say — ^Able to do 
all it shall will to do. There is no end to this power, — no 
hindrance in either earth or heaven to its resolute working 
— ^no stint to the life-supplies on which it may draw unceas- 
ingly. And — * in apprehension how like a god ! ' Here the 
word 'apprehension' is used in the sense of attaining 
knowledge, — ^to learn, or to * apprehend ' wisdom. It 
means, of course, that if the Soul's capability of 'appre- 
hending ' or learning the true meaning and use of every fact 
and circumstance which environs its existence, were prop- 
erly perceived and applied, then the ' Image of God ' in 
which the Creator made humanity, would become the verita- 
ble likeness of the Divine. 

But, as this powerful and infinite faculty of apprehension 
is seldom if ever rightly understood, and as Man generally 
concentrates his whole effort upon ministering to his purely 
material needs, utterly ignoring and wilfully refusing to 
realise those larger claims which are purely spiritual, he 
presents the appearance of a maimed and imperfect object, 
— a creature who, having strong limbs, declines to use the 
same, or who, possessing incalculable wealth, crazily con- 
siders himself a pauper. Jesus Christ, whom we may look 
upon as a human Incarnation of Divine Thought, an out- 
come and expression of the ' Word ' or Law of God, came 
to teach us our true position in the scale of the great 
Creative and Progressive Purpose, — ^but in the days of His 
coming men would not listen, — nor will they listen even 
now. They say with their mouths, but they do not believe 
with their hearts, that He rose from the dead, — ^and they 
cannot understand that, as a matter of fact, H^ t«:Ntx ^\ti^ 



14 PROLOGUE 

seeing that death for Him (as for all who have mastered 
the inward constitution and commingling of the elements) 
was impossible. His real life was not injured or affected 
by the agony on the Cross, or by His three days' entomb- 
ment ; the one was a torture to His physical frame, which 
to the limited perception of those who watched Him * die/ 
as they thought, appeared like a dissolution of the whole 
Man, — ^the other was the mere rest and silence necessary 
for what is called the * miracle ' of the Resurrection, but 
which was simply the natural rising of the same Body, the 
atoms of which were re-invested and made immortal by 
the imperishable Spirit which owned and held them in 
being. The whole life and so-called 'death ' of Christ was 
and is a great symbolic lesson to mankind of the infinite 
power of THAT within us which we call soul, — ^but which 
we may perhaps in these scientific days term an eternal 
radio-activity,— capable of exhaustless energy and of read* 
justment to varying conditions. Life is all Life. There 
is no such thing as Death in its composition, — and the 
intelligent comprehension of its endless ways and methods 
of change and expression, is the Secret of the Universe. 

It appears to be generally accepted that we are not to 
know this Secret, — -that it is too vast and deep for our 
^limited capacities, — ^and that even if we did know it, it 
would be of no use to us, as we are bound hard and fast 
by certain natural and elemental laws over which we have 
no control. Old truisms are re-stated and violently asserted 
— ^namely, that our business is merely to be bom, to live, 
breed and arrange things as well as we can for those who 
come after us, and then to die, and there an end, — 3, stupid 
round of existence not one whit higher than that of the 
silkworm. Is it for such a monotonous, commonplace way 
of life and purpose as this, that humanity has been en« 



PROLOGUE IS 

dowed with ' infinite faculty ' ? Is it for such poor aims 
and ends as these that we are told in the legended account 
of the beginning of things, to ' Replenish the earth and 
subdue it ' ? There is great meaning in that command — 
* Subdue it ! ' The business of each one of us who has 
come into the knowledge and possession of his or her own 
Soul, is to ' subdue ' the earth, — that is, to hold it and all 
it contains tmder subjection, — ^not to allow Its forces, 
whether interior or exterior, to subdue the Soul. But it 
may perhaps be said : — " We do not yet tmderstand all the 
forces with which we have to contend, and in this way they 
master us.'^ That may be so, — ^but if it is so with any of 
you, it is quite your own fault. Your own fault, I say, — 
for there is no power, human or divine, that compels you 
to remain in ignorance. Each one of you has a master- 
talisman and key to all locked doors. No State education 
can do for you what you might do for yourselves, if you 
only had the will. It is your own choice entirely if you 
elect to live in subjection to the earth, instead of placing the 
earth under subjection to your dominance. 

Then, again, you have been told to * Replenish the earth ' 
— ^as well as to subdue it. In these latter days, through 
a cupidity as amazing as criminal, you are not ' replenish- 
ing' so much as impoverishing the earth, and think you 
that no interest will be exacted for your reckless plunder? 
You mistake! You complain of the high taxes imposed 
upon you by your merely material and ephemeral Govern- 
ments, — ^but you forget that the Everlasting Gk)vernment 
of all Worlds demands an even higher rate of compensa- 
tion for such wrong or injurious uses as you make of this 
world, which was and is intended to serve as a place of j 
training for the development and perfection of the whole J 
human race, but which, owing to personal greed and selfisJx- ^ 



i6 PROLOGUE 

ness, IS too often turned into a mere grave for the inter- 
ment of faulty civilisations. 

In studying the psychic side of life it should be well and 
distinctly understood that there is an ever living Spirit 
within each one of us; — ^a Spirit for which there is no lim- 
ited capacity and no unfavourable surroundings. Its ca- 
pacity is infinite as God, — and its surroundings are always 
made by Itself. It is its own Heaven, — and once estab- 
lished within that everlasting centre, it radiates from the 
Inward to the Outward, thus making its own environment, 
not only now but for ever. It is its own Life, — ^and in 
the active work of perpetually re-generating and re-creating 
itself, knows nothing of Death. 

 :|e :|c 



I must now claim the indulgence of those among my 
readers who possess the rare gift of patience, for anything 
that may seem too personal in the following statement which 
I feel it almost necessary to make on the subject of my 
own ' psychic ' creed. I am so often asked if I believe this 
or that, if I am * orthodox,' if I am a sceptic, materialist 
or agnostic, that I should like, if possible, to make things 
dear between myself and these enquirers. Therefore I 
may say at once that my belief in God and the immortality 
of the Soul is absolute, — ^but that I did not attain to the 
faith I hold without hard training and bitter suffering. 
This need not be dwelt upon, being past. I began to write 
when I was too young to know anything of the world's 
worldly ways, and when I was too enthusiastic and too 
much carried away by the splendour and beauty of the 
spiritual ideal to realise the inevitable derision and scorn 
yAdch are bound to fall upon untried explorers into the 



PROLOGUE 17 

mysteries of the unseen; yet it was solely on account of 
a strange psychical experience which chanced to myself 
when I stood upon the threshold of what is called ' life ' 
that I found myself producing my first book, " A Romance 
of Two Worlds." It was a rash experiment, but it was the 
direct result of an initiation into some few of the truths 
behind the veil of the Seeming Real. I did not then know 
why I was selected for such an ' initiation ' — ^and I do not 
know even now. It arose quite naturally out of a series 
of ordinary events which might happen to anyone. I was 
not compelled or persuaded into it, for, being alone in the 
world and more or less friendless, I had no opporttmity to 
seek advice or assistance from any person as to the course 
of life or learning I should pursue. And I learned what 
I did learn because of my own tm wavering intention and 
WILL to be instructed. 

I should here perhaps explain the tenor of the instruction 
which was gradually imparted to me in just such measures 
of proportion as I was found to be receptive. The first 
thing I was taught was how to bring every feeling and 
sense into close union with the spirit of Nature. Nature, 
I was told, is the reflection of the working-mind of the 
Creator — ^and any opposition to that working-mind on the 
part of any living organism It has created cannot but result 
in disaster. Pursuing this line of study, a wonderful vista 
of perpetual revealment was opened to me. I saw how 
humanity, moved by gross egoism, has in every age of the 
world ordained laws and morals for itself which are the 
very reverse of Nature's teaching — ^I saw how, instead of 
helping the wheel of progress and wisdom onward, man 
reverses it by his obstinacy and turns it backward even 
on the very point of great attainment — ^and I was able to i 
perceive how the sorrows and despairs of the wotld ^x^ 



i8 PROLOGUE 

caused by this one simple fact — Man working against Na- 
ture — while Nature, ever divine and invincible, pursues her 
God-appointed course, sweeping her puny opponents aside 
and inflexibly carrying out her will to the end. And I 
learned how true it is that if Man went Tvith her instead 
of against her, there would be no more misunderstanding of 
the laws of the Universe, and that where there is now noth- 
ing but discord, all would be divinest harmony. 

My first book, " A Romance of Two Worlds," was an 
eager, though crude, attempt to explain and express some- 
thing of what I myself had studied on some of these sub- 
jects, though, as I have already said, my mind was un- 
formed and immature, and, therefore, I was not permitted 
to disclose more than a glimmering of the light I was 
beginning to perceive. My own probation — destined to be 
a severe one — had only just been entered upon ; and hard 
and fast limits were imposed on me for a certain time. I 
was forbidden, for example, to write of radium, that won- 
derful ' discovery ' of the immediate hour, though it was 
then, and had been for a long period, perfectly well known 
to my instructors, who possessed all the means of extract- 
ing it from substances as yet undreamed of by latter-day 
scientists. I was only permitted to hint at it under the guise 
of the word ' Electricity ' — which, after all, was not so 
much of a misnomer, seeing that electric force displays 
itself in countless millions of forms. My " Electric Theory 
of the Universe " in the " Romance of Two Worlds " fore- 
ran the utterance of the scientist who in the " Hibbert 
Journal " for January, 1905, wrote as follows: — " The last 
years have seen the dawn of a revolution in science as great 
as that which in the sphere of religion overthrew the many 
gods and crowned the One. Matter, as we have understood 
'% there is none, nor probably anywhere the individual 



PROLOGUE 19 

atom. The so-called atoms are systems of electronic 
corpuscles, bound together by their mutual forces too firmly 
for any human contrivance completely to sunder them,— 
alike in their electric composition, differing only in the 
rh}rthms of their motion. Electricity is all things, and all 
things are electric/^ 

This was precisely my teaching in the first book I ever 
wrote. I was ridiculed for it, of course, — ^and I was told 
that there was no * spiritual ' force in electricity. I differ 
from this view ; but * radio-activity ' is perhaps the better, 
because the truer term to employ in seeking to describe the 
Germ or Embryo of the Soul, for — as scientists have proved 
—^' Radium is capable of absorbing from surrounding 
bodies some unknown form of energy which it can render 
evident as heat and light." This is precisely what the radio- 
activity in each individual soul of each individual human 
being is ordained to do, — ^to absorb an * unknown form of 
energy which it can render evident as heat and light.' Heat 
and Light are the composition of Life; — ^and the Life which 
this radio-activity of Soul generates in itself and of itself, 
can never die. Or, as I wrote in "A Romance of Two 
Worlds" — ^''Like all flames, this electric (or radiant) 
spark can either be fanned into a fire, or allowed to escape 
in air, — it can never he destroyed!' And again, from the 
same book : " All the wonders of Nature are the result of 
light and heat alone!' Paracelsus, as early as about 1526, 
made guarded mention of the same substance or quality, 
describing it thus: — "The more of the humour of life it 
has, the more of the spirit of life abounds in that life." 
Though truly this vital radio-active force lacks all fitting 
name. To material science radium, or radium chloride, is 
a minute salt crystal, so rare and costly to obtain that it 
may be counted as about three thousand timfts \.\\^ -^tv^^ 



20 PROLOGUE 

of gold in the market. But of the action of pure radiun^ 
the knowledge of ordinary scientific students is nil. They 
know that an infinitely small spark of radium salt will emit 
heat and light continuously without any combustion or 
change in its own structure. And I would here quote a 
passage from a lecture delivered by one of our prominent 
scientists in 1904. " Details concerning the behaviour of 
several radio-active bodies were detected, as, for example, 
their activity was not constant; it gradually grew in 
strength, but the grown portion of the activity could be 
blown away, and the blown away part retained its activity 
only for a time. It decayed in a few days or weeks, — 
whereas the radium rose in strength again at the same rate 
that the other decayed. And so on constantly. It was as if 
a new form of matter was constantly being produced, and 
as if the radio-activity was a concomitant of the change of 
form. It was also found that radium kept on producing 
heat de novo so as to keep itself always a fraction of a de- 
gree above the surrounding temperature; also that it spon- 
taneously produced electricity." 

Does this teach no lesson on the resurrection of the dead ? 
Of the * blown away part ' which decays in a few days or 
weeks ? — of the ' Radia ' or ' Radiance ' of the Soul, rising 
in strength again at the same rate that the other, the Body, 
or 'grown portion of the activity,' decays? Of the *new 
form of matter ' and the ' radio-activity as a concomitant 
of the change of form'? Does not Science here almost 
unwittingly verify the words of St. Paul : — " It is sown a 
natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a nat- 
ural body, and there is a spiritual body " ? There is nothing 
impossible or ' miraculous ' in such a consummation, even 
according to modem material science, — it is merely the nat- 
ural action of pure radio-activity or that etherical composi« 



PROLOGUE 21 

tion for which we have no namev but which we have vaguely 
called the soul for countless ages. 

To multitudes of people this expression ' the Soul ' has 
become overfamiliar by constant repetition, and conveys 
little more than the suggestion of a myth, or the hint of an 
Imaginary Existence. Now there is nothing in the whole 
Universe so real as the Vital Germ of the actual Form and 
Being of the living, radiant, active Creature within each 
one of us, — ^the creature who, impressed and guided by our 
Free Will, works out its own delight or doom. The will 
of each man or woman is like the compass of a ship,— 
where it points, the ship goes. If the needle directs it to 
the rocks, there is wreck and disaster, — ^if to the open sea, 
there is clear sailing. God leaves the will of man at per- 
fect liberty. His Divine Love neither constrains nor com- 
pels. We must Ourselves learn the ways of Right and 
Wrong, and having learned, we must choose. We must 
injure Ourselves. God will not injure us. We invite our 
own miseries. God does not send them. The evils and sor- 
rows that afflict mankind are of mankind's own making. 
Even in natural catastrophes, which ruin cities and devas- 
tate countries, it is well to remember that Nature, which 
is the material expression of the mind of God, will not 
tolerate too long a burden of human iniquity. Nature 
destroys what is putrescent; she covers it up with fresh 
earth on which healthier things may find place to grow. 

I tried to convey some hint of these truths in my " Ro- 
mance of Two Worlds." Some few gave heed, — others 
wrote to me from all parts of the world concerning what 
they called my ' views ' on the subjects treated of, — some 
asked to be ' initiated ' into my ' experience ' of the Un- 
seen, — but many of my correspondents (I say it with re- 
gret) were moved by purely selfish considerations for thek 



22 PROLOGUE 

own private and particular advancement, and showed, by the 
very tone of their letters, not only an astounding hypocrisy, 
but also the good opinion they entertained of their own wor- 
thiness, their own capabilities, and their own great intellectu- 
ality, forgetful of the words : — '' Except ye become as little 
children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." 

Now the spirit of a little child is receptive and trustful. 
It has no desire for argument, and it is instinctively confi- 
dent that it will not be led into unnecessary difficulty or 
danger by its responsible guardians. This is the spirit 
in which, if we are sincere in our seeking for knowledge, 
we should and must approach the deeper psychological mys- 
teries of Nature. But as long as we interpose the darkness 
of personal doubt and prejudice between ourselves and the 
Light Eternal no progress can be made, — and every attempt 
to penetrate into the Holy of Holies will be met and thrust 
back by that * flaming Sword ' which from the beginning, 
as now, turns every way to guard the Tree of Life. 

Knowing this, and seeing that Self was the stumbling- 
block with most of my correspondents, I was anxious to 
write another book at once, also in the guise of a romance, 
to serve as a little lamp of love whereby my readers might 
haply discover the real character of the obstacle which 
blocked their way to an intelligent Soul-advancement. But 
the publisher I had at the time (the late Mr. George Bent- 
ley) assured me that if I wrote another * spiritualistic * 
book, I should lose the public hearing I had just gained. 
I do not know why he had formed this opinion, but as 
he was a kindly personal friend, and took a keen interest 
in my career, never handing any manuscript of mine over 
to his * reader,' but always reading it himself, I felt it 
incumbent upon me, as a young beginner, to accept the 
advice which I knew could only be given with the very 



PROLOGUE 23 

best intentions towards me. To please him, therefore, and 
to please the particular public to which he had introduced 
me, I wrote something entirely different, — a melodramatic 
tale entitled: "Vendetta: The Story of One Forgotten." 
The book made a certain stir, and Mr. Bentley next begged 
me to try * a love-story, pur et simple' (I quote from his 
own letter). The result was my novel of " Thelma," which 
achieved a great popular success and still remains a fa- 
vourite work with a large majority of readers. I then 
considered myself free to move once more upon the lines 
which my study of psychic forces had convinced me were 
of pre-eminent importance. And moved by a strong con- 
viction that men and women are hindered from attaining 
their ftill heritage of life by the obstinate interposition of 
their merely material Selves, I wrote " Ardath : The Story 
of a Dead Self." The plan of this book was partially sug^ 
gested by the following passages from the Second Apocry- 
phal Book of Esdras : — 

" Go into a field of flowers where no house is builded. 
And pray unto the Highest continually, then will I come 
and talk with thee. So I went my way into the field which 
is called Ardath, like as he commanded me, and there I sat 
among the flowers." 



In this field the Prophet sees the vision of a woman. 

" And it came to pass while I was talking with her, 
behold her face upon a sudden shined exceedingly and her 
countenance glistened, so that I was afraid of her and 
mused what it might be. And I looked, and behold the 
woman appeared unto me no more, but there was a city 
builded, and a large place showed itself from the founda* 
f.ions." 



24 PROLOGUE 

On this I raised the fabric of my own " Dream City," 
and sought to elucidate some of the meaning of that great 
text in Ecclesiastes which contains in itself all the philoso- 
phy of the ages: "That which Hath Been is Now; and 
that which is To Be hath already Been ; and God requireth 
that which is Past." 

The book, however, so my publisher Mr. Bentley told 
me in a series of letters which I still possess, and which 
show how keen was his own interest in my work, was 

* entirely over the heads of the general public' His opinion 
was, no doubt, correct, as " Ardath " still remains the least 

* popular ' of any book I have ever written. Nevertheless 
it brought me the unsought and very generous praise of the 
late Poet Laureate, Alfred Lord Tennyson, as well as the 
equally unsought good opinion and personal friendship of 
the famous statesman, William Ewart Gladstone, while 
many of the better-class literary journals vied with one 
another in according me an almost enthusiastic eulogy. 
Such authorities as the " Athenaeum " and " Spectator " 
praised the whole conception and style of the 
work, the latter journal going as far as to say that I 
had beaten Beckford's famous " Vathek " on its own 
ground. 

Whatever may now be the consensus of opinion on its 
merits or demerits, I know and feel it to be one of my 
most worthy attempts, even though it is not favoured by 
the million. It does not appeal to anything * of the mo- 
ment ' merely, because there are very few people who can 
or will understand that if the Soul or ' Radia ' of a human 
being is so forgetful of its highest origin as to cling to its 
human Self only (even as the hero of " Ardath " clung to 
the Shadow of his Former Self and to the illusory pictures 
of that Former Self's pleasures and vices and vanities) 



PROLOGUE 25 

then the way to the eternal Happier Progress is barred. 
There is yet another intention in this book which seems 
to be missed by the casual reader, namely, — ^That each 
human soul is a germ of separate and individual spiritual 
e?dstence. Even as no two leaves are exactly alike on any 
tree, and no two blades of grass are precisely similar, so 
no two souls resemble each other, but are wholly different, 
endowed with different gifts and different capacities. In- 
dividuality is strongly insisted upon in material Nature. 
And why ? Because material Nature is merely the reflex or 
mirror of the more strongly insistent individuality of 
psychic form. Again, psychic form is generated from a 
divinely eternal psychic substance, — a * radia ' or emanation 
of God's own Being which, as it progresses onward through 
endless aeons of constantly renewed vitality, grows more 
and more powerful, changing its shape often, but never 
its everlasting composition and quality. Therefore, all the 
experiences of the * Soul ' or psychic form, from its first 
entrance into active consciousness, whether in this world 
or in other worlds, are attracted to itself by its own inherent 
volition, and work together to make it what it is now and 
what it will be hereafter. 

That is what "Ardath: The Story of a Dead Self" 
seeks to explain, and I have nothing to take back from 
what I have written in its pages. In its experimental 
teaching it is the natural and intended sequence of "A 
Romance of Two Worlds," and was meant to assist the 
studies of the many who had written to me asking for 
help. And despite the fact that some of these persons, 
owing to an inherent incapacity for concentrated thought 
upon any subject, found it too ' difficult,' as they said, for 
casual reading, its reception was sufficiently encouraging 
to decide me on continuing to press upon public ^XX<tT^\oTk 



26 PROLOGUE 

t 

the theories therein set forth. " The Soul of Lilith " was, 
therefore, my next venture, — a third link in the chain I 
sought to weave between the perishable materialism of our 
ordinary conceptions of life, and the undying spiritual 
quality of life as it truly is. In this I portrayed the com- 
plete failure that must inevitably result from man's preju- 
dice and intellectual pride when studying the marvellous 
mysteries of what I would call the Further World, — ^that 
is to say, the ' Soul ' of the world which is hidden deeply 
behind its external Appearance, — ^and how impossible it is 
and ever must be that any * Soul ' should visibly manifest 
itself where there is undue attachment to the body. The 
publication of the book was a very interesting experience. 
It was and is still less * popular ' than " Ardath *' — but it 
has been gladly welcomed by a distinctly cultured minority 
of persons famous in art, science and literature, whose 
good opinion is well worth having. With this reward 
I was perfectly content, but my publisher was not so easily 
pleased. He wanted something that would * sell ' better. 
To relieve his impatience, therefore, I wrote a more or 
less ' sensational ' novel dealing with the absinthe drinkers 
of Paris, entitled "Wormwood," which did a certain 
amount of good in its way, by helping to call public atten- 
tion to the devastation wrought by the use of the pernicious 
drug among the French and other Continental peoples — 
and after this, receiving a strong and almost imperative 
impetus towards that particular goal whither my mind was 
set, I went to work again with renewed vigour on my own 
favourite and long studied line of argument, indifferent 
alike to publisher or public. Filled with the fervour of a 
passionate and proved faith, I wrote " Barabbas : A Dream 
of the World's Tragedy," — and this was the signal of sep- 
aration from my excellent old friend, George Bentley, who 



PROLOGUE 2^ 

had not the courage to publish a poetic romance which 
introduced, albeit with a tenderness and reverence unspeak« 
able, so far as my own intention was concerned, the Cruci- 
fixion and Resurrection of Christ. He wrote to me ex- 
pressing his opinion in these terms : — ^^ I can conscien- 
tiously praise the power and feeling you exhibit for your 
vast subject, and the rush and beauty of the language, and 
above all I feel that the book is the genuine outcome of 
a fervent faith all too rare in these days, but — I fear its 
effect on the public mind." Yet, when urged to a given 
point in the discussion, he could not deny that ' the effect 
on the public mind ' of the Passion Play at Ober-Ammergau 
is generally impressive and helpful, while he was bound 
to admit that there was something to be said for the intro- 
duction of Divine personages in the epic romances of Milton 
and Dante. What could be written in poetic verse did not, 
however, seem to him suitable for poetic prose, and I did 
not waste words in argument, as I knew the time had come 
for the parting of the ways. I sought my present publisher, 
Mr. Methuen, who, being aware, from a business point of 
view, that I had now won a certain reputation, took " Barab- 
bas " without parley. It met with an almost unprecedented 
success, not only in this country but all over the world. 
Within a few months it was translated into every known 
European language, inclusive even of modem Greek, and 
nowhere perhaps has it awakened a wider interest than in 
India, where it is published in Hindustani, Gujarati, and 
various other Eastern dialects. Its notable triumph was 
achieved despite a hailstorm of abuse rattled down upon 
me by the press, — a hailstorm which I, personally, found 
welcome and refreshing, inasmuch as it cleared the air and 
cleaned the road for my better wayfaring. It released me 
once and for all from the trammels of such obU^\\oTk '^^ 



^ PROLOGUE 

is incurred by praise, and set me firmly on my feet in that 
complete independence which to me (and to all who seek 
what I have found) is a paramount necessity. For, as 
Thomas a Kempis writes : " Whosoever neither desires to 
please men nor fears to displease them shall enjoy much 
peace." I took my freedom gratefully, and ever since that 
time of unjust and ill-considered attack from persons who 
were too malignantly minded to even read the work they 
vainly endeavoured to destroy, have been happily indifferent 
to all so-called * criticism ' and immime from all attempts 
to interrupt my progress or turn me back upon my chosen 
way. From henceforth I recognised that no one could 
hinder or oppose me but myself — and that I had the making, 
under Gk)d, of my own destiny. I followed up " Barabbas ** 
as quickly as possible by " The Sorrows of Satan," thus 
carrying out the preconceived intention I had always had of 
depicting, first, the martyrdom which is always the world's 
guerdon to Absolute Good, — ^and secondly, the awful, unim- 
aginable torture which must, by Divine Law, for ever be 
the lot of Absolute Evil. 

The two books carried their message far and wide with 
astonishing success and swiftness, and I then drew some 
of my threads of former argument together in " The Mas- 
ter Christian," wherein I depicted Christ as a Child, visiting 
our world again as it is to-day and sorrowfully observing: 
the wickedness which men practise in His Name. This 
book was seized upon by thousands of readers in all coun- 
tries of the world with an amazing avidity which proved 
how deep was the longing for som*^ clear exposition of 
faith that might console as well as command, — and after 
its publication I decided to let it take its own uninterrupted 
course for a time and to change my own line of work to 
lighter themes, lest I should be set down as ' spiritualist * 



PROLOGUE 29 

or ' theosophist/ both of which terms have been brought 
into contempt by tricksters. So I played with my pen, and 
did my best to entertain the public with stories of every- 
day life and love, such as the least instructed could under- 
stand, and that I now allude to the psychological side of 
my work is merely to explain that these six books, namely : 
" A Romance of Two Worlds," " Ardath : The Story of 
a Dead Self," " The Soul of Lilith," " Barabbas," " The 
Sorrows of Satan " and " The Master Christian " are the 
result of a deliberately conceived plan and intention, and 
are all linked together 1^ the one theory. They have not 
been written solely as pieces of fiction for which I, the au- 
thor, am paid by the publisher, or you, the reader, are con- 
tent to be temporarily entertained, — ^they are the out- 
come of what I myself have learned, practised and proved 
in the daily experiences, both small and great, of daily 
life. 

You may probably say and you probably wUl say — 
"What does that matter to us? We do not care a jot 
for your * experiences ' — ^they are transcendental and ab- 
surd — ^they bore us to extinction." Nevertheless, quite 
callous as you are or may be, there must come a time when 
pain and sorrow have you in their grip — ^when what you 
call * death ' stands face to face with you, and when you 
♦vill find that all you have thought, desired or planned for 
your own pleasure, and all that you possess of material 
good or advantage, vanishes like smoke, leaving nothing 
behind, — ^when the world will seem no more than a small 
receding point from which you must fall into the Un- 
known — and when that " dread of something after death, 
The undiscovered country from whose bourn No traveller 
returns, ptussles the will" You have at present living 
among you a great professing scientist. Dr. Oliver Lodg.'^ 



30 PROLOGUE 

who, wandering among mazy infinities, conceives it even 
possible to communicate with departed spirits, — ^while I, 
who have no such weight of worldly authority and learning 
behind me, tell you that such a thing is out of all natural 
law and therefore can never be. Nature can and will unveil 
to us many mysteries that seem ^M^^r-natural, when they 
are only manifestations of the deepest centre of the purest 
natural — ^but nothing can alter Divine Law, or change the 
system which has governed the Universe from the begin- 
ning. And by this Divine Law and system we have to 
learn that the so-called * dead ' are not dead — they have 
merely been removed to fresh life and new spheres of 
action, under which circumstances they cannot possibly hold 
communication with us in any way unless they again as- 
sume the human form and human existence. In this case 
(which very frequently happens) it takes not only time for 
us to know them, but it also demands a certain instinctive 
reccptiveness on our parts, or willingness to recognise them. 
Even the risen Saviour was not at first recognised by His 
own disciples. It is because I have been practically con- 
vinced of this truth, and because I have learned that life 
is not and never can be death, but only constant change 
and reinvestment of Spirit into Form, that I have pre- 
suraied so far as to allude to my own faith and experience, 
— ^a * personal ' touch for which I readily apologise, know- 
ing that it cannot be interesting to the majority who would 
never take the trouble to shape their lives as I seek to 
'Shape mine. Still, if there are one or two out of a million 
Ivho feel as I do, that life and love are of little worth if 
they must end in dark nothingness, these may perhaps have 
the patience to come with me through the pages of a nar- 
rative which is neither * incidental ' nor ' sensational ' nor 
anything which should pertain to the modem ' romance ' or 



PROLOGUE 31 

* novel/ and which has been written because the writing of 

it enforced itself upon me with an insistence that would 

take no denial. 

   

m 

Perhaps there will be at least one among those who 
turn over this book, who will be sufficiently interested in 
the psychic — ^that is to say the immortal and, therefore, the 
only real side of life — ^to give a little undivided attention 
to the subject. To that one I address myself and say: 
Will you, to begin with, drop your burden of preconceived 
opinions and prejudices, whatever they are? Will you set 
aside the small cares and trifles that affect your own ma- 
terial personality? Will you detach yourself from your 
own private and particular surroundings for a space and 
agree to think with me ? Thinking is, I know, the hardest 
of all hard tasks to the modern mind. But if you would 
learn, you must undertake this trouble. If you would find 
the path which is made fair and brilliant by the radiance 
of the soul's imperishable summer, you must not grudge 
time. If I try, no matter how inadequately, to show you 
something of the mystic power that makes for happiness, 
do not shut your eyes in scorn or languor to the smallest 
flash of light through your darkness which may help you 
to a mastery of the secret. 

I say again — ^Will you think with me? Will you, for 
instance, think of Life ? What is it? Of Death? What is 
it? What is the primary object of Living? What is the 
problem solved by Dying? All these questions should have 
answer, — for nothing is without a meaning, — and nothing 
ever has been, or ever will be, without a purpose. 

In this world, apparently, and according to our surface 
knowledge of all physical and mental phenomena, it ^cyoIA 



32 PROLOGUE 

seem that the chief business of humanity is to continually 
re-create itself. Man exists — in his own opinion — ^merely 
to perpetuate Man. All the wonders of the earthy air, fire 
and water, — ^all the sustenance drawn from the teeming 
bosom of Nature, — all the progress of countless civilisations 
in ever recurring and repeated processional order, — all the 
sciences old and new, — are solely to nourish, support, in^ 
struct, entertain and furnish food and emplo}mient for the 
tiny two-legged imp of Chance, spawned (as he himself 
asserts) out of gas and atoms. 

Yet, — ^as he personally declares, through the mouth of 
his modern science, — ^he is not of real importance withal. 
The little planet on which he dwells would, to all seeming, 
move on in its orbit in the same way as it does now, without 
him. In itself it is a pigmy world compared with the rest 
of the solar system of which it is a part. Nevertheless, 
the fact cannot be denied that his material surroundings 
are of a quality tending to either impress or to deceive 
Man with a sense of his own value. The world is his 
oyster which he, with the sword of enterprise, will open, — 
and all his natural instincts urge him to perpetuate himself 
in some form or other incessantly and without stint. Why ? 
Why is his existence judged to be necessary? Why should 
he not cease to be? Trees would grow, flowers would 
bloom, birds would sing, fish would glide through the rivers 
and the seas, — ^the insect and animal tribes of field and 
forest would enjoy their existence immolested, and the 
great sun would shine on ever the same, rising at dawn, 
sinking at even, with unbroken exactitude and regularity 
if Man no longer lived. Why have the monstrous forces 
of Evolution thundered their way through cycles of crea- 
tion to produce so infinitesimal a prodigy? 

Till this question is answered, so long must life seem at 



PROLOGUE 33 

its best but vague and unsatisfactory. So long over all 
things must brood the shadow of death made more gloomy 
by hopeless contemplation. So long must Creation appear 
something of a cruel farce, for which peoples and civilisa- 
tions come into being merely to be destroyed and leave no 
trace. All the work futile, — all the education useless, — ^all 
the hope vain. Only when men and women learn that their 
lives are not infinitesimal but infinite — ^that each of them 
possesses within himself or herself an eternal, active, con- 
scious individual Force, — a Being — a Form — ^which in its 
radio-active energy draws to itself and accommodates to 
its use, everything that is necessary for the accomplishment 
of its endeavours, whether such endeavours be to continue 
its life on this planet or to remove to other spheres; only 
then will it be dearly understood that all Nature is the 
subject and servant of this Radiant Energy — ^that Itself 
is the god-like * image ' or emanation of God, and that as 
such it has its eternal part to perform in the eternal move- 
ment towards the Eternal Highest. 

I now leave the following pages to the reader's attentive 
Or indifferent consideration. To me, as I have already 
stated, outside opinion is of no moment. Personally speak- 
ing, I should perhaps have preferred, had it been possible, 
to set forth the incidents narrated in the ensuing * romance ' 
in the form of separate essays on the nature of the mystic 
tuition and experience through which some of us in this 
workaday world have the courage to pass successfully, but 
I know that the masses of the people who drift restlessly to 
and fro upon the surface of this planet, ever seeking for 
comfort in various forms of religion and too often finding 
none, will not listen to any spiritual truth unless it is con- 
veyed to them, as though they were children, in the form i 
of a * story.' I am not the heroine of the tale — tXvow^ \ 



34 PROLOGUE 

have narrated it (more or less as told to me) in the first 
person singular, because it seemed to me simpler and more 
direct. She to whom the perfect comprehension of happi- 
ness has come with an equally perfect possession of love, 
is one out of a few who are seeking what she has found. 
Many among the world's greatest mystics and philosophers 
have tried for the prizes she has won, — for the world 
possesses Plato, the Bible and Christ, but in its apparent 
present ways of living has learned little or nothing from 
the three, so that other would-be teachers may well despair 
of carrying persuasion where such mighty predecessors 
have seemingly failed. The serious and real things of life 
are nowadays made subjects for derision rather than rever- 
ence; — ^then, again, there is unhappily an alarmingly in- 
creasing majority of weak-minded and degenerate persons, 
bom of drunken, diseased or vicious parents, who are men« 
tally unfit for the loftier forms of study, and in whom 
the mere act of thought-concentration would be dangerous 
and likely to upset their mental balance altogether; while 
by far the larger half of the social commimity seek to 
avoid the consideration of anything that is not exactly 
suited to their tastes. Some of our most respected social 
institutions are nothing but so many self-opinionated and 
unconscious oppositions to the Law of Nature which is the 
Law of Grod, — ^and thus it often happens that when obsti- 
nate humanity persists in considering its own ideas of 
Right and Wrong superior to the Eternal Decrees which 
hare been visibly presented through Nature since the earliest 
dawn of creation, a faulty civilisation sets in and is tjres- 
ently swept back upoii its advancing wheels, and forced to 
begin again with primal letters of learning. In the same 
way a faulty Soul, an imperfect individual Spirit, is like- 
wise compelled to return to school and resume the study of 



PROLOGUE 35 

the lessons it has failed to put into practice. Nevertheless, 
people cannot bear to have it plainly said or written down, 
as it has been said and written down over and over again 
any time since the world began, that all the corrupt gov- 
ernment, wars, slaveries, plagues, diseases and despairs that 
afBict humanity are humanity's own sins taking vengeance 
upoQ the sinners, ' even unto the third and fourth genera- 
tion.' And this not out of Divine cruelty, but because of 
Divine Law which from the first ordained that Evil shall 
slay Itself, leaving room only for Good. Men and women 
alike will scarce endure to read any book which urges this 
unalterable fact upon their attention. They pronounce the 
author * arrogant ' or ' presuming to lay down the law ' ; — 
and they profess to be scandalised by an encounter with 
honesty. Nevertheless, the faithful writer of things as they 
Are will not be disturbed by the aspect of things as they 
Seem. 

Spirit, — ^the creative Essence of all that is, — ^works in 
various forms, but always on an ascending plane, and it 
invariably rejects and destroys whatever interrupts that 
onward and upward progress. Being in Itself the Radiant 
outflow of the Mind of God, it is the life of the Universe. 
And it is very needful to understand and to remember 
that there is nothing which can properly be called super- 
natural, or above Nature, inasmuch as this Eternal Spirit 
of Energy is in and throughout all Nature. Therefore, 
what to the common mind appears miraculous or impossi- 
ble, is nevertheless actually ordinary, and only seems extra- 
ordinary to the common mind's lack of knowledge and ex- 
perience. The Fountain of Youth and the Elixir of Life 
were dreams of the ancient mystics and scientists, but they 
are not dreams to-day. To the Soul that has found them 
they are Divine Realities. Marie. Co^saaa. 



" There is no Death. 
What seems so is transitioa' 



THE HEROINE BEGINS HER STORY 

It is difficult at all times to write or speak of circum- 
stances which though perfectly at one with Nature appear 
to be removed from natural occurrences. Apart from the 
incredulity with which the narration of such incidents is 
received, the mere idea that any one human creature should 
be fortunate enough to secure some particular advantage 
which others, through their own indolence or indifference, 
have missed, is sufficient to excite the envy of the weak 
or the anger of the ignorant. In all criticism it is an 
understood thing that the subject to be criticised must be 
under the critic, never above, — ^that is to say, never above 
the critic's ability to comprehend; ther^ore, as it is im- 
possible that an outsider should enter at once into a clear 
understanding of the mystic Spiritual-Nature world around 
him, it follows that the teachings and tenets of that Spirit- 
ual-Nature world must be more or less a closed book to 
such an one, — ^, book, moreover, which he seldom cares or 
dares to try and open. 

In this way and for this reason the Eastern philosophers 
and sages concealed much of their most profound knowl- 
edge from the multitude, because they rightly recognised 
the limitations of narrow minds and prejudiced opinions. 
What the fool cannot learn he laughs at, thinking that by 
his laughter he shows superiority instead of latent idiocy. 
And so it has happened that many of the jg^reatest dis- 



i 



38 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

coveries of science, though fully known and realised in the 
past by the initiated few, were never disclosed to the many 
until recent years, when ' wireless telegraphy ' and * light- 
rays ' are accepted facts, though these very things were 
familiar to the Egyptian priests and to that particular sect 
known as the ' Hermetic Brethren/ many of whom used 
the * violet ray ' for chemical and other purposes ages before 
the coming of Christ. Wireless telegraphy was also an 
ordinary method of commtmication between them, and they 
had their ' stations ' for it in high towers on certain points 
of land as we have now. But if they had made their 
scientific attainments known to the multitude of their day 
they would have been judged as impostors or madmen. 
In the time of Galileo men would not beiieve that the earth 
moved round the sun, — and if anyone had then declared 
that messages could be sent from one ship to another in 
mid-ocean without any visible means of communication, 
he would probably have been put to torture and death as 
a sorcerer and deliberate misleader of the public In the 
same way those who write of spiritual truths and the 
psychic control of our life-forces are as foolishly criticised 
as Galileo, and as wrongfully condemned. 

For hundreds of years man's vain presumption and belief 
in his own infallibility caused him to remain in error con- 
cerning the simplest elements of astronomy, which would 
have taught him the true position of the sphere upon which 
he dwells. With precisely equal obstinacy man lives to-day 
in ignorance of his own highest powers because he will 
not take the trouble to study the elements of that supreme 
and all-commanding mental science ' which would enable 
him to understand his own essential life and being, and the 
intention of his Creator with regard to his progress and 
betterment. Therefore, in the face of his persistent ego- 



THE HEROINE BEGINS HER STORY 39 

tism and effrontery, and his continuous denial of the ' super- 
human ' (which denial is absurdly incongruous seeing that 
all his religions are built up on a ' superhuman ' basis), it 
is generally necessary for students of psychic mysteries 
to guard the treasures of their wisdom from profane and 
vulgar scorn, — a scorn which amounts in their eyes to 
blasphemy. For centuries it has been their custom to con- 
ceal the tenets of their creed from the common knowledge 
for the sake of conventions ; because they would, or might, 
be shut out from such consolations as human social inter- 
course can give if their spiritual attainments were found 
to be, as they often are, beyond the ordinary. Thus they 
move through the world with the utmost caution, and 
instead of making a display of their powers they, if they 
are true to their faith, studiously deny the idea that they 
have any extraordinary or separate knowledge. They live 
as spectators of the progress or decay of nations, and they 
have no desire to make disciples, converts or confidants. 
They submit to the obligations of life, obey all civil codes, 
and are blameless and generous citizens, only preserving 
silence in regard to their own private beliefs, and giving 
the public the benefit of their acquirements up to a certain 
point, but shutting out curiosity where they do not wish 
its impertinent eyes. 

To this, the creed just spoken of, I, the writer of this 
present narrative, belong. It has nothing whatever to do 
with merely human dogma, — ^and yet I would have it dis- 
tinctly understood that I am not opposed to ' forms * of 
religion save where they overwhelm religiop itself and 
allow the Spirit to be utterly lost in the Letter. For ' the 
letter killeth, — ^the spirit giveth life.* So far as a ' form ' 
^may make a way for truth to become manifest, I am withJ 
it,— but when it is a mere Sham or Show, and when humaa \ 



40 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

sotds are lost rather than saved by it, I am opposed to it 
And with all my deficiencies I am conscious that I may 
risk the chance of a lower world's disdain, seeing that the 
' higher world without end * is open to me in its imperisha- 
ble brightness and beauty, to live in both now, and for ever. 
No one can cast me out of that glorious and indestructible 
Universe, for ' whithersoever I go there will be the sun 
and the moon, and the stars and visions and communion 
with the gods/ 

And so I will fulfil the task allotted to me, and will enter 
at once upon my ' story ' — in which form I shall endeavour 
to convey to my readers certain facts which are as far 
from fiction as the sayings of the prophets of old, — sayings 
that we know have been realised by the science of to-day. 
Every great truth has at first been no more than a dream, 
— ^that is to say, a thought, or an instinctive perception 
of the Soul reaching after its own immortal heritage. And 
what the Soul demands it receives. 

a|e 3|e a|e 

At a time of year when the indolent languors of an 
exceptionally warm summer disinclined most people for 
continuous hard work, and when those who could afford 
it had left their ordinary avocations for the joys of a 
long holiday, I received a pressing invitation from certain 
persons whom I had met by chance during one London 
season, to join them in a yachting cruise. My intending 
host was an exceedingly rich man, a widower with one 
daughter, a delicate and ailing creature who, had she been 
poor, would have been irreverently styled ' a tiresome old 
maid,* but who by reason of being a millionaire's sole 
heiress was alluded to with sycophantic tenderness by al! 



THE HEROINE BEGINS HER STORY 41 

and sundry as * Poor Miss Catherine.' Morton Harland, 
her father, was in a certain sense notorious for having 
written and published a bitter, cold and pitiless attack on 
religion, which was the favourite reading of many scholars 
and literary men, and this notable performance, together 
with the well accredited reports of his almost fabulous 
wealth, secured for him two social sets, — ^the one composed 
of such human sharks as are accustomed to swim round 
the plutocrat, — ^the other of the cynical, listless, semi-bored 
portion of a so-called cultured class who, having grown 
utterly tired of themselves, presumed that it was clever 
to be equally tired of God. I was surprised that such a 
man as he was should think of including me among his 
guests, for I had scarcely exchanged a dozen words with 
him, and my acquaintance with Miss Harland was restricted 
to a few casual condolences with her respecting the state 
of her health. Yet it so chanced that one of those vague 
impulses to which we can give no name, but which often 
play an important part in the building up of our life- 
dramas, moved both father and daughter to a wish for 
my company. Moreover, the wish was so strong that 
though on first receiving their invitation I had refused it, 
they repeated it urgently, Morton Harland himself pressing 
it upon me with an almost imperative insistence. 

" You want rest," — ^he said, peering at me narrowly with 
his small hard brown eyes — '' You work all the time. And 
to what purpose ? " 

I smiled. 

" To as much purpose as anyone else, I suppose," — I 
answered — " But to put it plainly, I work because I love 
work." 

The lines of his mouth grew harder. \ 

** So did I love work when I was your age>" — ^Ke. «.vic— 



42 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

**I thought I could carve out a destiny. So I could. I 
have done it. But now it's done I'm tired! I'm sick of 
my destiny, — the thing I carved out so cleverly, — ^it has the 
stone face of a Sphinx and its eyes are blank and without 
meaning." 

I was silent. My silence seemed to irritate him, and he 
.gave me a sharp, enquiring glance. 

" Do you hear me? " he demanded — " If you do, I don't 
believe you understand ! " 

" I hear — and I quite understand," — I replied, quietly, 
" Your destiny, as you have made it, is that of a rich man. 
And you do not care about it. I think that's quite natural." 

He laughed harshly. 

" There you are again ! " he exclaimed—" Up in the aif 
and riding a theory like a witch on a broomstick ! It's not 
natural. That's just where you're wrong! It's quite un- 
natural. If a man has plenty of money he ought to be 
perfectly happy and satisfied, — he can get everjrthing he 
wants, — ^he can move the whole world of commerce and 
speculation, and can shake the tree of Fortime so that the 
apples shall always fall at his own feet. But if the apples 
are tasteless there's something wrong." 

" Not with the apples," I said. 

" Oh, I know what you mean I You would say the fault 
is with me, not with Fortune's fruit. You may be right. 
Catherine says you are. Poor mopish Catherine! — ^always 
ailing, always querulous ! Come and cheer her ! " 

" But " — I ventured to say — " I hardly know her." 

" That's true. But she has taken a curious fancy to you. 
She has very few fancies nowadays, — ^none that wealth can 
gratify. Her life has been a complete disillusion. If you 
jvould do her and me a kindness, come ! " 

I was a little troubled by his pertinacity. I had never 



THE HEROINE BEGINS HER STORY 43 

liked Morton Harland. His reputation, both as a man 
of wealth and a man of letters, was to me unenviable. He 
did no particular good with his money, — and such literary 
talent as he possessed he squandered in attacking nobler 
ideals than he had ever been able to attain. He was not 
agreeable to look at either; his pale, close-shaven face was 
deeply marked by lines of avarice and cunning, — his tall, 
lean figure had an aggressive air in its very attitude, and 
his unkind mouth never failed, whether in speaking or 
smiling, to express a sneer. Apparently he guessed the 
vague tenor of my thoughts, for he went on: — 

" Don't be afraid of me ! I'm not an ogre, and I shan't 
eat you! You think me a disagreeable man — ^well, so I 
am. I've had enough in my life to make me disagreeable. 
And " — ^here he paused, passing his hand across his eyes 
with a worried and impatient gesture — " I've had an unex- 
pected blow just lately. The doctors tell me that I have 
a mortal disease for which there is no remedy. I may 
live on for several years, or I may die suddenly; it's all 
a matter of care— or chance. I want to forget the sad 
news for a while if I can. I've told Catherine, and I sup- 
pose I've added to her usual burden of vapours and melan- 
choly — so we're a couple of miserable wretches. It's not 
very unselfish of us to ask you to come and join us under 
such circumstances " 

As he spoke my mind suddenly made itself up. I would 
go. Why not? A cruise on a magnificent steam yacht, 
replete with every comfort and luxury, was surely a fairly 
pleasant way of taking a holiday, even with two invalids 
for company. 

" I'm sorry," I said, as gently as I could—" very sorry 
that you are ill. Perhaps the doctors may be mistaken. 
They are not always infallible. Many of their doomed 



44 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

patients have recovered in spite of their verdict And-< 
as you and Miss Harland wish it so much — ^I will certainly 
come." 

His frowning face lightened, and for a moment looked 
almost kind. 

" That's right ! '* he said—" The fresh air and the sea 
will do you good. As for ourselves, sickly people though 
we are, we shall not obtrude our ailments upon your atten* 
tion. At least / shall not. Catherine may — she has got 
into an unfortunate habit of talking about her aches and 
pains, and if her acquaintances have no aches and pains 
to discuss with her she is at a loss for conversation. How* 
ever, we shall do our best to make the time go easily with 
you. There will be no other company on board— except 
my private secretary and my attendant physician, — both 
decent fellows who know their place and keep it." 

The hard look settled again in his eyes, and his ugly 
mouth closed firmly in its usual cruel line. My subcon* 
scious dislike of him gave me a sharp thrust of regret 
that, after all, I had accepted his invitation. 

" I was going to Scotland for a change," — ^I murmured, 
hesitatingly. 

" Were you ? Then oiu* plans coincide. We join the 
yacht at Rothesay — ^you can meet us there. I propose a 
jCruise among the Western isles — ^the Hebrides — and 
possibly on to Norway and its fjords. What do you 
say?" 

My heart thrilled with a sudden sense of expectant joy. 
In my fancy I already saw the heather-crowned summits 
of the Highland hills, bathed in soft climbing mists of 
amethyst and rose, — ^the lovely purple light that dances on 
the mountain lochs at the sinking of the sun, — ^the exquisite 
beauty of wild moor and rocky foreland, — and almost I 



THE HEROINE BEGINS HER STORY 45 

was disposed to think this antipathetic millionaire an angel 
of blessing in disguise. 

" It will be delightful ! '' I said, with real fervour—" I 
shall love it ! I'm glad you are going to keep to northern 
seas/' 

" Northern seas are the only seas possible for summer," 
he replied — '' With the winter one goes south, as a matter 
of course, though Fm not sure that it is always advisable. 
I have found the Mediterranean tiresome very often." He 
broke off and seemed to lose himself for a moment in a 
tangle of vexed thought. Then he resumed quickly: — 
" Well, next week, then. Rothesay bay, and the yacht 
' Diana.' " 

Things being thus settled, we shook hands and parted. 
In the interval between his visit and my departure from 
home I had plenty to do, and I heard no more of the Har- 
lands, except that I received a little note from Miss Cath- 
erine expressing her pleasure that I had agreed to accom- 
pany them on their cruise. 

You will be very dull, I fear,^' — ^she wrote, kindly — 

But not so dull as we should be without you." 

This was a gracious phrase which meant as much or 
as little as most such phrases of a conventionally amiable 
character. Dulness, however, is a condition of brain and 
body of which I am seldom conscious, so that the sugges- 
tion of its possibility did not disturb my outlook. Having 
resolved to go, I equally resolved to enjoy the trip to the 
utmost limit of my capacity for enjoyment, which — fortu- 
nately for myself — is very great. Before my departure 
from home I had to listen, of course, to the usual croaking 
chorus of acquaintances in the neighbourhood who were 
not goitig yachting and who. according to their own asser- 
tion, never would on anv accotmt go yachting. There is n 



it 



46 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

tendency in many persons to decry every pleasure which 
they have no chance of sharing, and this was not lacking 
among my provincial gossips. 

" The weather has been so fine lately that we're sure to 
have a break soon," — said one — " I expect you'll meet gales 
at sea." 

" I hear/' said another, " that heavy rains are threatening 
the west coast of Scotland." 

" Such a bore, yachting ! " declared a worthy woman 
who had never been on a yacht in her life — ^''The 
people on board get sick of each other's company in a 
week ! " 

"Well, you ought to pity me very much, then!" — ^I 
said, laughing — " According to your ideas, a yachting cruise 
appears to be the last possible form of physical suffering 
that can be inflicted on any human being. But I shall hope 
to come safely out of it all the same ! " 

My visitors gave me a wry smile. It was quite easy 
to see that they envied what they considered my good 
fortune in getting a holiday imder the most luxurious cir- 
cumstances without its costing me a penny. This was the 
only view they took of it. It is the only view people 
generally take of any situation, — ^namely, the financial 
side. 

The night before I left home was to me a memorable 
one. Nothing of any outward or apparent interest hap- 
pened, and I was quite alone, yet I was conscious of a 
singular elation of both mind and body as though I were 
surrounded by a vibrating atmosphere of light and joy. It 
was an impression that came upon me suddenly, seeming 
to have little or nothing to do with my own identity, yet 
withal it was still so personal that I felt eager to praise 
God for such a rich inflow of happiness. The impressioo 



THE HEROINE BEGINS HER STORY 47 

was purely psychic I knew, — but it was worth a thousand 
gifts of material good. Nothing seemed sad, — ^nothing 
seemed difficult in the whole Universe— every shadow of 
trouble seemed swept away from a shining sky of peace. 
I threw open the lattice window of my study and stepping 
out on the balcony which overhimg the garden, I stood 
there dreamily looking out upon the night. There was no 
moon; only a million quivering points of light flashing 
from the crowded stars in a heaven of dusky blue. The 
air was warm, and fragrant with the sweet scent of stocks 
and heliotrope, — there was a great silence, for it was fully 
midnight, and not even the drowsy twitter of a bird broke 
the intense quiet. The world was asleep— or seemed so— 
although for fifty living organisms in Nature that sleep 
there are a thousand that wake, to whom night is the work* 
ing day. I listened, — and fancied I could hear the delicate 
murmuring of voices hidden among the leaves and behind 
the trees, and the thrill of soft music flowing towards me 
on the sound-waves of the air. It was one of those supreme 
moments when I almost thought I had made some marked 
progress towards the attainment of my highest aims, — 
when the time I had spent and the patience I had exercised 
in cultivating and training what may be called the inward 
powers of sight and hearing were about to be rewarded, 
by a full opening to my striving spirit of the gates which 
had till now been only set ajar. I knew, — for I had studied 
and proved the truth, — ^that every bodily sense we possess 
is simply an imperfect outcome of its original and existent 
faculty in the Soul, — that our bodily ears are only the 
material expressions of that spiritual hearing which is fine 
and keen enough to catch the lightest angel whisper, — ^that 
our eyes are but the outward semblance of those brilliant 
inner orbs of visio|^ ^hich are made to look upon the s\]^ 



48 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

pernal glories of Heaven itself without fear or flinching,— 
and that our very sense of touch is but a rough and uncer- 
tain handling of perishable things as compared with that 
sure and delicate contact of the Soul's personal being with 
the etheric substances pertaining to itself. Despite my eager 
expectation, however, nothing more was granted to me then 
but just that exquisite sensation of pure joy, which like 
a rain of light bathed every fibre of my being. It was 
enough, I told myself — surely enough! — and yet it seemed 
to me there should be something more. It was a promise 
with the fulfilment close at hand, yet undeclared, — ^like a 
snow-white cloud with the sun behind it. But I was given 
no solution of the rapturous mystery surrounding me, — 
and — ^granting my soul an absolute freedom, it could plunge 
no deeper than through the immensity of stars to immensi- 
ties still more profound, there to dream and hope and wait. 
For years I had done this, — for years I had worked and 
prayed, watching the pageant of poor human pride and 
vanity drift past me like shadows on the shore of a dead 
sea, — succeeding little by little in threading my way through 
the closest labyrinths of life, and finding out the beautiful 
reasons of living; — and every now and then, — ^as to-night, 
— ^I had felt myself on the verge of a discovery which in 
its divine simplicity should make all problems clear and 
all difficulties easy, when I had been gently but firmly held 
back by a force invisible, and warned, * Thus far, and no 
farther ! * To oppose this force or make any personal eflFort 
to rebel against it, is no part of my faith, — ^therefore at 
such moments I had always yielded instantly and obedi- 
ently as I yielded now. I was not allowed to fathom the 
occult source of my happiness, but the happiness remained, 
— and when I retired to rest it was with more than ordinary 
gratitude that I said my usual brief prayer:— 



THE HEROINE BEGINS HER STORY 49 

For the day that is past, I thank Thee, O God my 

Father ! 
For the night that has come, I thank Thee! 
As one with Thee and with Nature I gratefully take the 

rest Thou hast lovingly ordained. 
Whether I sleep or wake my body and soul are Thine. 
Do with them as Thou wilt, for Thy command is my 

joy. Amen. 

I slept as soundly and peacefully as a child, and the 
next day started on my journey in the brightest of bright 
summer weather. A friend travelled with me— one of those 
amiable women to whom life is always pleasant because of 
the pleasantness in their own natures ; she had taken a house 
for the season in Inverness-shire, and I had arranged to 
join her there when my trip with the Harlands was over, 
or rather, I should say, when they had grown weary of 
me and I of them. The latter chance was, thought my 
friend, whom I will call Francesca, most likely. 

" There's no greater boredom,*' — she declared — "than the 
society of an imaginative invalid. Such company will not 
be restful to you, — it will tire you out. Morton Harland 
himself may be really ill, as he says — ^I shouldn't wonder 
if he is, for he looks it! — ^but his daughter has nothing 
whatever the matter with her, — except nerves." 

" Nerves are bad enough," — I said. 

** Nerves can be conquered," — she answered, with a 
bright smile of wholesome conviction — " Nerves are gen- 
erally — ^well ! — ^just selfishness ! " 

There was some truth in this, but we did not argue the 
point further. We were too much engrossed with the inter- 
ests of our journey north, and with the entertainment pro- 
vided for MS by our fellow-travellers. The train for Edin-i 
burgh and Glasgow was crowded with men of that par* 



50 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

ticular social class who find grouse-shooting an intelligent 
way of using their brain and muscle, and gun-cases cum- 
bered the ground in every comer. It wanted yet several 
days to the famous Twelfth of August, but the weather 
was so exceptionally fine and brilliant that the exodus from 
town had begun earlier than was actually necessary for 
the purposes of slaughter. Francesca and I studied the 
faces and figures of our companions with lively and un- 
abated interest. We had a reserved compartment to our- 
selves, and from its secluded privacy we watched the rest- 
less pacing up and down in the adjacent corridor of sundry 
male creatures who seemed to have nothing whatever to 
think about but the day's newspaper, and nothing to do 
but smoke. 

" I am sure,*' said Francesca, suddenly — " that in the 
beginning of creation we were all beasts and birds of prey, 
eating each other up and tearing each other to pieces. 
The love of prey is in us still." 

Not in you, surely?" I queried, with a smile. 
Oh, I am not talking or thinking of myself. I'm just 
— B, woman. So are you — a woman — and something more, 
perhaps — something not like the rest of us." Here her 
kind eyes regarded me a trifle wistfully. " I can't quite 
make you out sometimes, — I wish I could! But — apart 
from you and me — look at a few of these men! One has 
just passed our window who has the exact physiognomy 
of a hawk,— cruel eyes and sharp nose like a voracious 
beak. Another I noticed a minute ago with a perfectly 
pig-like face, — ^he does not look rightly placed on two legs, 
— his natural attitude is on four legs, grunting with his 
snout in the gutter! " 

I laughed. 

" You are a severe critic, Francesca! ** 



4< 
ii 



THE HEROINE BEGINS HER STORY 51 



4i 



Not I. I'm not criticising at all. But I can't help 
seeing resemblances. And sometimes they are quite ap- 
palling. Now you, for instance/' — ^here she laid a hand 
tentatively on mine — "you, in your mysterious ideas of 
religion, actually believe that persons who lead evil lives 
and encourage evil thoughts, descend the scale from which 
they have risen and go back to the lowest forms of 
life " 



I do believe that certainly " — I answered — " But- 



But me no buts,' " — she interrupted — " I tell you there 
are people in this world whom I see in the very act of de- 
scending! And it makes me grow cold! " 

I could well understand her feeling. I had experienced 
it often. Nothing has ever filled me with a more hopeless 
sense of inadequacy and utter uselessness than to watch, 
as I am often compelled to watch, the deplorable results 
of the determined choice made by certain human beings 
to go backward and downward rather than forward and 
upward, — a choice in which no outside advice can be of 
any avail because they will not take it even if it is offered. 
It is a Hfe-and-death matter for their own wills to deter- 
mine, — and no pbwer, human or divine, can alter the course 
they elect to adopt. As well expect that God would revert 
His law of gravitation to save the silly suicide who leaps 
to destruction from tower or steeple, as that He would 
change the eternal working of His higher Spiritual Law 
to rescue the resolved Soul which, knowing the difference 
between good and evil, deliberately prefers evil. If an 
angel of light, a veritable ' Son of the Morning ' rebels, he 
must fall from Heaven. There is no alternative; until of 
his own free-will he chooses to rise again. 

My friend and I had often talked together on these 
knotty points which tangled up what should be th^ %lx^\^p&.- 



\ 



52 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

ness of many a life's career, and as we mutually knew 
each other's opinions we did not discuss them at the mo- 
ment. 

Time passed quickly, — ^the train rushed farther and far- 
ther north, and by six o'clock on that warm, sunshiny after-* 
noon we were in the grimy city of Glasgow, from whence 
we went on to a still grimier quarter, Greenock, where 
we put up for the night. The * best ' hotel was a sorry 
affair, but we were too tired to mind either a bad dinner 
or uncomfortable rooms, and went to bed glad of any 
place wherein to sleep. Next morning we woke up very 
early, refreshed and joyous, in time to see the sun rise 
in a warm mist of gold over a huge man-o'-war outside 
Greenock harbour, — a, sight which, in its way, was very 
fine and rather suggestive of a Turner picture. 

" Deaf old Sol 1 " said Francesca, shading her eyes as 
she looked at the dazzle of glory — " His mission is to sus- 
tain life, — ^and the object of that war-vessel bathed in all 
his golden rays is to destroy it. What unscrupulous villains 
men are ! Why cannot nations resolve on peace and amityj 
and if differences arise agree to settle them by arbitra- 
tion ? It's such a pagan and brutal thing to kill thousands 
of innocent men just because Governments quarrel." 

" I entirely agree with you," — I said — *■ All the same 
I don't approve of Governments that preach peace while 
they drain the people's pockets for the purpose of increas- 
ing armaments, after the German fashion. Let us be ready 
with adequate defences, — ^but it's surely very foolish to 
cripple our nation at home by way of preparation for wars 
which may never happen." 

" And yet they may happen ! " said Francesca, her eyes 
still dreamily watching the sunlit heavens — " Everything 
in the Universe is engaged in sume sort of a fight, so it 



THE HEROINE BEGINS HER STORY 53 

seems to me. The tiniest insects are for ever combating 
each other. In the very channels of our own blood the 
poisonous and non-poisonous germs are constantly striving 
for the mastery, and how can we escape the general ordain- 
ment? Life itself is a continual battle between good and 
evil, and if it were not so we should have no object in 
living. The whole business is evidently intended to be a 
close conflict to the end.** 

" There is no end ! " I said. 

She looked at me almost compassionately. 

" So you imagine ! " 

I smiled. 

'' So I know r' 

A vague expression flitted over her face, — an expression 
with which I had become familiar. She was a most lovable 
and intelligent creature, but she could not think very far, — 
the effort wearied and perplexed her. 

"Well, then, it must be an everlasting' skirmish, I sup- 
pose ! " she said, laughingly, — ■' I wonder if our souls will 
ever get tired ! " 

** Do you think God ever gets tired ? *' I asked. 

She looked startled, — ^then amused. 

" He ought to ! " she declared, with vivacity — '* I don't 
mean to be irreverent, but really, what with all the living 
things in all the millions of worlds trying to get what they 
ought not to have, and wailing and howling when they 
are disappointed of their wishes. He ought to be very, very 
tired!" 

" But He is not," — I said; — " If He were, there would 
indeed be an end of all ! Should the Creator be weary of 
His work, the work would be undone. I wish we thought 
of this more often ! " 

She put her arm round me kindly. 



( 



54 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

" You are a strange creature 1 " she said — ** You think a 
great deal too much of all these abstruse subjects. After 
all, I'm glad you are going on this cruise with the Har- 
land people. They will bring you down from the spheres 
with a run ! They will, Fm sure ! You'll hear no conver- 
sation that does not turn on baths, medicines, massage, 
and general cure-alls ! And when you come on to stay with 
me in Inverness-shire you'll be quite commonplace and 
sensible ! " 

I smiled. The dear Francesca always associated *the 
commonplace and sensible ' together, as though they were ^ 
fitted to companion each other. The complete reverse is, 
of course, the case, for the 'commonplace' is generally 
nothing more than the daily routine of body which is in- 
stinctively followed by beasts and birds as equally as by 
man, and has no more to do with real ' sense ' or pure 
mentality than the ticking of a watch has to do with the 
enormous forces of the sun. What we call actual ' Sense ' 
is the perception of the Soul, — sl perception which cannot 
be limited to things which are merely material, inasmuch 
as it passes beyond outward needs and appearances and 
reaches to the causes which create those outward needs and 
appearances. I was, however, satisfied to leave my friend 
in possession of the field of argument, the more readily 
as our parting from each other was so near at hand. 

We journeyed together by the steamer ' Columba ' to 
Rothesay, where, on entering the beautiful bay, crowded 
at this season with pleasure craft, the first object which 
attracted our attention was the very vessel for which I 
was bound, the * Diana,' one of the most magnificent yachts 
ever built to gratify the whim of a millionaire. Tourists 
on board our steamer at once took up positions where they 
could obtain the best view of her, and many were the com- 



THE HEROINE BEGINS HER STORY 55 

ments we heard concerning her size and the beauty of her 
lines as she rode at anchor on the sunlit water. 

" You'll be in a floating palace/' — ^said Francesca, as wc 
approached Rothesay pier, and she bade me an affectionate 
adieu — '* Now take care of yourself, and don't fly away 
to the moon on what you call an etheric vibration ! Remem- 
ber, if you get tired of the Harlands to come to me at 
once." 

I promised, and we parted. On landing at Rothesay I 
was abnost immediately approached by a sailor from the 
'Diana,' who, spying my name on my luggage, quickly 
possessed himself of it and told me the motor launch was 
in waiting to take me over to the yacht. I was on my 
way across the sparkling bay before the ' Columba ' started 
out again from the pier, and Francesca, standing on the 
steamer's deck, waved to me a smiling farewell as I went. 
In about ten minutes I was on board the ' Diana,' shaking 
hands with Morton Harland and his daughter Catherine, 
who, wrapped up in shawls on a deck chair, looked as 
though she were guarding herself from the chills of a 
rigorous winter rather than basking in the warm sunshine 
of a summer morning. 

" You look very well ! " — she said, in tones of plaintive 
amiability — ^" And so wonderfully bright ! " 

" It's such a bright day," — I answered, feeling as if I 
ought somehow to apologise for a healthy appearance, " One 
can't help being happy ! " 

She sighed and smiled faintly, and her maid appearing 
at that moment to take my travelling bag and wraps, I 
was shown the cabin, or rather the state-room which was 
to be mine during the cruise. It was a luxurious double 
apartment, bedroom and sitting-room together, divided 
only by the hanging folds of a rich crimson silk ctutaio^ 



56 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

and exquisitely fitted with white enamelled furniture oma* 
mented with hand-wrought silver. The bed had no resem- 
blance whatever to a ship's berth, but was an elaborate 
full-sized affair, canopied in white silk embroidered with 
roses; the carpet was of a thick softness into which my 
feet sank as though it were moss, and a tall silver and 
crystal vase, full of gorgeous roses, was placed at the 
foot of a standing mirror framed in silver, so that the 
blossoms were reflected double. The sitting-room was pro- 
vided with easy chairs, a writing-table, and a small piano, 
and here, too, masses of roses showed their fair faces 
from every comer. It was all so charming that I could 
not help uttering an exclamation of delight, and the maid 
who was unpacking my things smiled sympathetically. 

" It's perfectly lovely ! " I said, turning to her with eager- 
ness — " It's quite a little fairyland ! But isn't this Miss 
Harland's cabin?" 

" Oh dear no, miss," — she replied — " Miss Harland 
wouldn't have all these things about her on any account. 
There are no carpets or curtains in Miss Harland's rooms. 
She thinks them very unhealthy. She has only a bit of 
matting on the floor, and an iron bedstead — all very plain. 
And as for roses! — ^she wouldn't have a rose near her 
for ever so ! — she can't bear the smell of them." 

I made no comment. I was too enchanted with my sur- 
roundings for the moment to consider how uncomfortable 
my hostess chose to make herself. 

" Who arranged these rooms ? " I asked. 

" Mr. Harland gave orders to the steward to make them 
as pretty as he could," — said the maid — " John " and she 
blushed — '* has a lot of taste." 

I smiled. I saw at once how matters were between her 
and ''John." Just then there was a sound of thudding 



THE HEROINE BEGINS HER STORY 57 

and grinding atx>ve my head, and I realised that we were 
beginning to weigh anchor. Quickly tying on my yachting 
cap and veil, I hurried on deck, and was soon standing 
beside my host, who seemed pleased at the alacrity with 
which I had joined him, and I watched with feelings of 
indescribable exhilaration the ' Diana ' being loosed from 
her moorings. Steam was up, and in a very short time her 
bowsprit swung roimd and pointed outward from the bay. 
Quivering like an eager race-horse ready to start, she sprang 
forward; and then, with a stately sweeping curve, glided 
across the water, catting it into bright wavelets with her 
sword-like keel and churning a path behind her of opales- 
cent foam. We were off on our voyage of pleasure at 
last, — 3, voyage which the Fates had determined should, 
for one adventurer at least, lead to strange regions as yet 
unexplored. But no premonitory sign was given to me, or 
suggestion that I might be the one chosen to sail 'the 
perilous seas of fairy lands forlorn ' — for in spiritual things 
of high import, the soul that is most concerned is always 
the least expectant 



i 



THE FAIRY SHIP 

I WAS introduced that evening at dinner to Mr. Hai> 
land's physician, and also to his private secretary. I was 
not greatly prepossessed in favour of either of these gen- 
tlemen. Dr. Brayle was a dark, slim, clean-shaven man 
of middle age with expressionless brown eyes and sleek 
black hair which was carefully brushed and parted down 
the middle, — ^he was quiet and self-contained in manner^ 
and yet I thought I could see that he was fully alive to 
the advantages of his position as travelling medical adviser 
to an American millionaire. I have not mentioned till now 
that Morton Harland was an American. I was always 
rather in the habit of forgetting the fact, as he had long 
ago forsworn his nationality and had naturalised himself 
as a British subject. But he had made his vast forttme 
in America, and was still the controlling magnate of many 
large financial interests in the States. He was, however, 
much more English than American, for he had been edu- 
cated at Oxford, and as a young man had been always 
associated with English society and English ways. He had 
married an English wife, who died when their first child, 
his daughter, was bom, and he was wont to set down all 
Miss Catherine's mopish languors to a delicacy inherited 
from her mother, and to lack of a mother's care in child- 
hood. In my opinion Catherine was robust enough, but it 
was evident that from a very early age she had been given 



THE FAIRY SHIP 59 

her own way to the fullest extent, and had been so accus- 
tomed to have every little ailment exaggerated and made 
the most of that she had grown to believe health of body 
and mind as well-nigh impossible to the human being. Dr. 
Brayle, I soon perceived, lent himself to this attitude, and 
I did not like the covert gleam of his mahogany-coloured 
eyes as he glanced rapidly from father to daughter in the 
pauses of conversation, watching them as narrowly as a cat 
might watch a couple of unwary mice. The secretary, Mr. 
Swinton, was a pale, precise-looking yotmg man with a 
somewhat servile demeanour, tmder which he concealed an 
inordinately good opinion of himself. His ideas were cen- 
tred in and bounded by the art of stenography, — he was 
an adept in shorthand and typewriting, could jot down, 
I forget how many crowds of jostling words a minute, and 
never made a mistake. He was a clock-work model of pimc- 
tuality and dispatch, of respectfulness and obedience, — but 
he was no more than a machine, — ^he could not be moved 
to a spontaneous utterance or a spontaneous smile, tmless 
both smile and utterance were the result of some pleasant- 
ness affecting himself. Neither Dr. Brayle nor Mr. Swinton 
were men whom one could positively like or dislike, — 
they simply had the power of creating an atmosphere in 
which my spirit found itself swimming like a gold-fish in 
a bowl, wondering how it got in and how it could get out. 
As I sat rather silently at table I felt, rather than saw. 
Dr. Brayle regarding me with a kind of perplexed curiosity. 
I was as fully aware of his sensations as of my own, — 
I knew that my presence irritated him, though he was not 
clever enough to explain even to himself the cause of his 
irritation. So far as Mr. Swinton was concerned, he was 
comfortably wrapped up in a pachydermatous hide of self- 
apprcc/ation, so that he thought nothing about me one way 



 



6o THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

or the other except as a guest of his patrons, and one 
therefore to whom he was bound to be civil. But with Dr. 
Brayle it was otherwise. I was a puzzle to him, and — 
after a brief study of me — ^an annoyance. He forced him- 
self into conversation with me, however, and we inter- 
changed a few remarks on the weather and on the various 
beauties of the coast along which we had been sailing all 
day. 

" I see that you care very much for fine scenery,** he 
said — " Few women do." 

" Really ? " And I smiled. " Is admiration of the beau- 
tiful a special privilege of men only? " 

" It should be," — ^he answered, with a little bow — ^" We 
arc the admirers of your sex." 

I made no answer. Mr. Harland looked at me with a 
somewhat quizzical air. 

" You are not a believer in compliments," he said. 

" Was it a compliment ? " I asked, laughingly — '* I'm 
afraid I'm very dense! I did not see that it was meant 
jis one." 

Dr. Brayle's dark brows drew together in a slight frown. 
With that expression on his face he looked very much like 
an Italian poisoner of old time, — ^the kind of man whom 
Caesar Borgia might have employed to give the happy dis- 
patch to his enemies by some sure and undiscoverable means 
known only to intricate chemistry. 

Presently Mr. Harland spoke again, while he peeled a 
pear slowly and delicately with a deft movement of his fruit 
knife that suggested cruelty and the flaying alive of some 
sentient thing. 

" Our little friend is of a rather strange disposition>** he 
observed — " She has the indifference of an old-world phi- 
losopher to the saying of speeches that are merely socially 



THE FAIRY SHIP 6i 

agreeable. She is ardent in soul, but suspicious in mind! 
She imagines that a pleasant word may often be used to 
cover a treacherous action, and if a man is as rude and 
blunt as myself, for example, she prefers that he should 
be rude and blunt rather than that he should attempt to 
conceal his roughness by an amiability which it is not 
his nature to feel." Here he looked up at me from the 
careful scrutiny of his nearly flayed pear. " Isn't that so? *' 

" Certainly," — I answered — " But that's not a ' strange ' 
or original attitude of mind." 

The comers of his ugly mouth curled satirically. 

" Pardon me, dear lady, it is ! The normal and strictly 
reasonable attitude of the healthy human Pigmy is that 
It should accept as gospel all that It is told of a nature 
soothing and agreeable to Itself. It should believe, among 
other things, that It is a very precious Pigmy among nat* 
ural forces, destined to be immortal, and to share with 
Divine Intelligence the privileges of Heaven. Put out by 
the merest trifle, troubled by a spasm, driven almost to 
howling by a toothache, and generally helpless in all very 
aggravated adverse circtmistances. It should still console 
Itself with the idea that Its being, Its proportions and per- 
fections are superb enough to draw down Deity into a 
human shape as a creature of human necessities in order 
that It, the Pigmy, should claim kinship with the Divine 
now and for ever! What gorgeous blasphemy in such a 
scheme ! — ^what magnificent arrogance ! " 

I was silent, but I could almost hear my heart beating 
with suppressed emotion. I knew Morton Harland was 
an atheist, so far as atheism is possible to any creature 
bom of spirit as well as matter, but I did not think he 
would air his opinions so openly and at once before me 
the first e^^ening of my stay on board his yacht. I saw. 



( 



62 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

however, that he spoke in this way hoping to move me to 
an answering argument for the amusement of himself and 
the other two men present, and therefore I did what was 
incumbent upon me to do in such a situation — held my 
peace. Dr. Brayle watched me curiously, — and poor Cath- 
erine Harland turned her plaintive eyes upon me full of 
alarm. She had learned to dread her father's fondness for 
starting topics which led to religious discussions of a 
somewhat heated nature. But as I did not speak, Mr. 
Harland was placed in the embarrassing position of a per- 
son propounding a theory which no one shows any eager- 
ness to accept or to deny, and, looking slightly confused, 
he went on in a lighter and more casual way — 

" I had a friend once at Oxford, — a wonderful fellow, 
full of strange dreams and occult fancies. He was one 
of those who believed in the Divine half of man. He 
used to study curious old books and manuscripts till long 
past midnight, and never seemed tired. His father had 
lived by choice in some desert comer of Egypt for forty 
years, and in Egypt this boy had been bom. Of his mother 
he never spoke. His father died suddenly and left him 
a large fortune under trustees till he came of age, with 
instructions that he was to be taken to England and edu- 
cated at Oxford, and that when he came into possession of 
his money, he was to be left free to do as he liked with it 
I met him when he was almost half-way through his Uni- 
versity course. I was only two or three years his senior, 
but he always looked much younger than I. And he was, 
as we all said, ' imcanny ' — as uncanny as our little friend,*' 
—here indicating me by a nod of his head and a smile 
which was meant to be kindly — " He never practised or 
* trained ' for an3rthing and yet all things came easily to him; 
He was as magnificent in his sports as he was in his studies. 



THE FAIRY SHIP 63 

and I remember — ^how well I remember itl — that there 
came a time at last when we all grew afraid of him. If 
we saw him coming along the ' High ' we avoided him, — 
he had something of terror as well as admiration for us, — 
and though I was of his college and constantly thrown into 
association with him, I soon became infected with the gen- 
eral scare. One night he stopped me in the quadrangle 
where he had his rooms " 

Here Mr. Harland broke off suddenly. 

" I'm boring you," — ^he said — " I really have no business 
to inflict the recollections of my youth upon you." 

Dr. Brayle's brown eyes showed a glistening animaJ in- 
terest. 

" Pray go on ! " he urged — '^ It sounds like the chapter 
of a romance." 

*' Fm not a believer in romance," — said Mr, Harland, 
grimly — " Facts are enough in themselves without any em- 
broidered additions. This fellow was a Fact, — a healthy, 
strong, energetic, living Fact. He stopped me in the quad- 
rangle as I tell you, — and he laid his hand on my shoulder. 
I shrank from his touch, and had a restless desire to get 
away from him. ' What's the matter with you, Harland ? * 
he said, in a grave, musical voice that was peculiarly his 
own — * You seem afraid of me. If you are, the fault is in 
yourself, not in me ! ' I shuffled my feet about on the stone 
pavement, not knowing what to say — ^then I stammered 
out the foolish excuses young men make when they find 
themselves in an awkward corner. He listened to my stam- 
mering remarks about * the other fellows ' with attentive 
patience, — ^then he took his hand from my shoulder with 
a quick, decisive movement. ' Look here, Harland ' — he 
said — * You are taking up all the conventions and traditions 
with which our poor old Alma Mater is encrusted, and 



64 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

sticking them over you like burrs. TheyTl ding, remem* 
ber ! It's a pity you choose this way of going, — ^I'm starting 
at the farther end — ^where Oxford leaves off and Life 
begins ! ' I suppose I stared — for he went on — * I mean 
Life that goes forward, — ^not Life that goes backward, pick- 
ing up the stale crumbs fallen from centuries that have 
finished their banquet and passed on. There t — ^I won't 
detain you! We shall not meet often — but don't forget 
what I have said, — ^that if you are afraid of me, or of any 
other man, or of any existing thing, — ^the fault is in your- 
self, not in the persons or objects you fear.' * I don't sec it,' 
I blurted out, angrily — ' What of the other fellows ? Thejr 
think you're queer ! ' He laughed. ' Bless the other fel- 
lows ! ' he said — ' They're with you in the same boat I 
They think me queer because they are queer — that is,— out 
of line — ^themselves.' I was irritated by his easy indif- 
ference and asked him what he meant by 'out of line.' 

* Suppose you see a beautiful garden harmoniously planned,' 
he said, still smiling, * and some clumsy fellow comes along 
and puts a crooked pigstye up among the flower beds, you 
would call that " out of line," wouldn't you? Unsuitable, 
to say the least of it ? ' ' Oh ! ' I said, hotly — * So you 
consider me and my friends crooked pigstyes in your land- 
scape?' He made me a gay, half apologetic gesture. 

* Something of the type, dear boy ! ' he said — * But don't 
worry ! The crooked pigstye is always a most popular kind 
of building in the world you will live in ! ' With that he 
bade me good-night, and went. I was very angry with 
him, for I was a conceited youth and thought myself and 
my particular associates the very cream of Oxford, — but 
he took all the highest honours that year, and when he 
finally left the University he vanished, so to speak, in a 
blaze of intellectual glory. I have never seen him again— 



THE FAIRY SHIP 65 

and never heard of him — and so I suppose his studies led 
Him nowhere. He must be an elderly man now, — ^he may 
be lame, blind, lunatic, or what is more probable still, he 
may be dead, and I don't know why I think of him except 
that his theories were much the same as those of our little 
friend," — ^again indicating me by a nod — ^' He never cared 
for agreeable speeches, — ^always rather mistrusted social 
conventions, and believed in a Higher Life after Death." 

" Or a Lower,"— I put in, quietly. 

"Ah yesl There must be a Down grade, of course, 
if there is an Up. The two would be part of each other's 
existence. But as I accept neither, the point does not 
matter." 

I looked at him, and I suppose my looks expressed 
wonder or pity or both, for he averted his glance from 



mme. 






You are something of a spiritualist, I believe ? " — said 
Dr. Brayle, lifting his hard eyes from the scrutiny of the 
tablecloth and fixing them upon me. 

Not at all," — ^I answered, at once, and with emphasis. 

That is, if you mean by the term ' spiritualist ' a credu- 
lous person who believes in mediumistic trickery, automatic 
writing and the like. That is sheer nonsense and self- 
deception." 

" Several experienced scientists give these matters con- 
siderable attention," — suggested Mr. Swinton, primly. 

I smiled. 

" Science, like ever3rthing else, has its borderland," I said 
— " from which the brain can easily slip off into chaos. 
The most approved scientific professors are liable to this 
dire end of their speculations. They forget that in order 
to understand the Infinite they must first be suie of the 
Infinite in themselves." 



66 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

" You speak like an oracle, fair lady ! " — said Mr. Han 
land — " But despite your sage utterances Man remains as 
finite as ever." 

" If he chooses the finite state certainly he does," — ^I 
answered — " He is always what he elects to be." 
» Mr. Harland seemed desirous of continuing the argu- 
inent, but I would say no more. The topic was too 
serious and sacred with me to allow it to be lightly dis* 
cussed by persons whose attitude of mind was distinctly 
opposed and antipathetic to all things beyond the merely 
mundane. 

After dinner, Miss Catherine professed herself to be suf- 
fering from neuralgia, and gathering up her shawls and 
wraps asked me to excuse her for going to bed early. I 
bade her good-night, and, leaving my host and the two 
other men to their smoke, I went up on deck. We were 
anchored off Mull, and against a starlit sky of exceptional 
clearness the dark mountains of Morven were outlined with 
a softness as of black velvet. The yacht rested on per- 
fectly calm waters, shining like polished steel, — ^and the 
warm stillness of the summer night was deliciously sooth- 
ing and restful. Our captain and one or two of the sailors 
were about on duty, and I sat in the stem of the vessel 
looking up into the glorious heavens. The tapering bow- 
jsprit of the ' Diana ' pointed aloft as it were into a woven 
web of stars, and I lost myself in imaginary flight among 
those glittering tmknown worlds, oblivious of my material 
surroundings, and forgetting that despite the splendid evi- 
dences of a governing Intelligence in the beauty and order 
of the Universe spread about them every day, my com- 
panions in the journey of pleasure we were undertaking 
together were actually destitute of all faith in God, and 
bad less perception of the existing Divine than the humblest 



THE FAIRY SHIP 67 

plant may possess that instinctively forces its way upward 
to the light. I did not think of this, — it was no use think- 
ing about it as I could not better the position, — ^but I found 
m3rself curiously considering the story Mr. Harland had 
told about his college friend at Oxford. I tried to picture 
his face and figure till presently it seemed as if I saw him, — 
indeed! could have sworn that a man's shadowy form 
stood immediately in front of me, bending upon me a 
searching glance from eyes that were strangely familiar. 
Startled at this wraith of my own fancy, I half rose from 
my chair — ^then sank back again with a laugh at my imag- 
ination's too vivid power of portrayal. A figure did cer- 
tainly present itself, but one of sufficient bulk to convince 
me of its substantiality. This was the captain of the ' Di- 
ana,' a cheery-looking personage of a thoroughly nautical 
type, who, approaching me, lifted his cap and said : 

" That's a wonderfully fine yacht that has just dropped 
anchor behind us. She's illuminated, too. Have you seen 
her?" 

" No," I answered, and turned in the direction he indi- 
cated. An involuntary exclamation escaped 'me. There, 
about half a mile to our rear, floated a schooner of ex- 
quisite proportions and fairy-like grace, outlined from stem 
to stern by delicate borderings of electric light as though 
decorated for some great festival, and making quite a glit- 
tering spectacle in the darkness of the deepening night. We 
could see active figures at work on deck — ^the sails were 
dropped and quickly furled, — ^but the quivering radiance 
remained running up every tapering mast and spar, so that 
the whole vessel seemed drawn on the dusky air with pencil 
points of fire. I stood up, gazing at the wonderful sight 
in silent amazement and admiration, with the captain beside 
me, and it was he who first spoke. 



68 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

"I can't make her out," — ^he said, perplexedly, — ^''Wc 
never heard a sound except just when she dropped anchor, 
and that was almost noiseless. How she came round the 
point yonder so suddenly is a mystery! I was keeping a 
sharp look-out, too." 

" Surely she's very large for a sailing vessel ? " I queried. 

" The largest I've ever seen," — ^he replied — ** But how did 
she sail ? That's what I want to know ! " 

He looked so puzzled that I laughed., 

"Well, I suppose in the usual way," — I said — ^''With 
sails." 

" Ay, that's all very well ! " — and he glanced at me with 
a compassionate air as at one who knew nothing about 
seafaring — "But sails must have wind, and there hasn't 
been a capful all the afternoon or evening. Yet she came 
in with crowded canvas full out as if there was a regular 
sou'wester, and found her anchorage as easy as you please. 
All in a minute, too. If there was a wind it wasn't a wind 
belonging to this world! Wouldn't Mr. Harland perhaps 
like to see her ? " 

I took the hint and ran down into the saloon, which 
by this time was full of the stifling odours of smoke and 
whisky. Mr. Harland was there, drinking and talking 
somewhat excitedly with Dr. Brayle, while his secretary 
listened and looked on. I explained why I had ventured 
to interrupt their conversation, and they accompanied me 
up on deck. The strange yacht looked more bewilderingly 
brilliant than ever, the heavens having somewhat clouded 
over, and as we all, the captain included, leaned over our 
own deck rail and gazed at her shining outlines, we heard 
the sound of delicious music and singing floating across the 
quiet sea. 

" Some millionaire's toy," — said Mr. Harland — " Shc>' 



THE FAIRY SHIP 69 

superbly built, — sailing vessels are always more elegant than 
steam, though not half so useful. I expect she'll lie be- 
calmed here for a day or two/' 

" It's a wonder she's got round here at all/' — said the 
captain — " There wasn't any wind to bring her." 

Mr. Harland looked amused. 

" There must have been some wind. Derrick," — he an- 
swered — "Only it wasn't boisterous enough for a hardy 
salt like you to feel it." 

"There wasn't a breath,"-T-declared Derrick, firmly — 
** Not enough to blow a baby's curl." 

" Then how did she get here ? " asked Dr. Brayle. 

Captain Derrick's lifted eyebrows expressed his inability 
to solve the enigma. 

" I said just now if there was a wind it wasn't a wind 
belonging to this world " 

Mr. Harland turned upon him quickly. 

"Well, there are no winds belonging to other worlds 
that will ever disturb our atmosphere," — ^he said — '' Come, 
come. Derrick, you don't think that yacht is a ghost, do 
you? — a sort of ' Flying Dutchman ' spectre? " 

Captain Derrick smiled broadly. 

"No, sir — I don't! There's flesh and blood aboard — 
I've seen the men hauling down canvas, and I know that. 
But the way she sailed in bothers me." 

"All that electric light is rather ostentatious," — said 
Dr. Brayle — " I suppose the owner wants to advertise his 
riches." 

"That doesn't follow," said Mr. Harland, with some 
sharpness — *^ I grant you we live in an advertising age, 
but I don't fancy the owner of that vessel is a Pill or a 
Plaster or even a Special Tea. He may want to amuse j 
himself — ^it may be the birthday of his wife or one of hU 



70 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

children — there may be several inoffensive reasons for his 
lighting up, and he may think no more of advertisement 
than you or I." 

" That's true," — ^assented Dr. Brayle, with a quick con- 
cession to his patron's humour. " But people nowadays 
do so many queer things for mere notoriety's sake that 
it is barely possible to avoid suspecting them. They will 
even kill themselves in order to be talked about." 

" Fortunately they don't hear what's said of them," — 
returned Mr. Harland — " or they might alter their minds 
and remain alive. It's hardly worth while to hang your- 
self in order to be called a fool ! " 

While this talk went on I remained silent, watching the 
illuminated schooner with absorbed fascination. Suddenly, 
while I still gazed upon her, every spark with which she 
was, as it were, bejewelled, went out, and only the ordi- 
nary lamps common %o the watches of the night on board 
a vessel at anchorage burned dimly here and there like 
red winking eyes. For the rest, she was barely visible save 
by an indistinct tracery of blurred black lines. The swift- 
ness with which her brilliancy had been eclipsed startled 
us all and drew from Captain Derrick the remark that it 
was * rather queer.' 

" What pantomimists call a ' quick change ' " — said Mr. 
Harland, with a laugh — ^^ The show is over for to-night. 
Let us turn in. To-morrow morning we'll try and make 
acquaintance with the stranger, and find out for Captain 
Derrick's comfort how she managed to sail without wind ! " 

We bade each other good-night then, and descended to 
our several quarters. 

When I found myself alone in the luxurious state-room 
* suite ' allotted to me, the first thing I did was to open one 
of the port-holes and listen to the music which still came 



THE FAIRY SHIP 71 

floating from the mysterious yacht. It was a music full of 
haunting sweetness and rh3rthmic melody, and I was not 
sure whether it was evolved from stringed instruments or 
singing voices. By climbing up on the sofa in my sitting- 
room I could look out through the port-hole on the near 
sea, rippling close to me, and bringing, as I fancied, with 
every ripple a new cadence, a tenderer snatch of tune. 
A subtle scent was on the salt air, as of roses mingling 
with the freshness of the scarcely moving waters, — it came, 
I thought, from the beautiful blossoms which so lavishly 
adorned my rooms. I could not see the yacht from my 
point of observation, but I could hear the music she had 
on board, and that was enough for immediate delight. • 

Leaving the port-hole open, I lay down on the sofa im- 
mediately beneath it and composed myself to listen. The 
soft breath of the sea blew on my cheeks, and with every 
breath the delicate vibrations of appealing harmony rose 
and fell — it was as if these enchanting sounds were being 
played or sung for me alone. In a delicious languor I 
drowsed, as it were, with my eyes open, — ^losing myself 
in a labyrinth of happy dreams and fancies which came 
to me imbidden, — ^till presently the music died softly away 
like a retreating wave and ceased altogether. I waited a 
few minutes — ^listening breathlessly lest it should begin 
again and I lose some note of it, — ^then hearing no more, 
I softly closed the port-hole and drew the curtain. I did 
this with an odd reluctance, feeling somehow that I had 
shut out a friend; and I half apologised to this vague 
sentiment by reminding myself of the lateness of the hour. 
It was nearly midnight. I had intended writing to Fran- 
cesca, — but I was now disinclined for anything but rest. 
The music which had so entranced me throbbed still in my 
ears and made my heart beat with a quick sense of joy,-^ 



I 



72 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

and a warm atmosphere of peace and comfort came over 
me when at last I lay down in my luxurious bed, and 
slipped away into the land of sleep. Ah, what a land it 
is, that magic Land of Sleep! — a land 'shadowing with 
wings,' where amid many shifting and shimmering won- 
ders of darkness and light, the Palace of Vision stands 
uplifted, stately and beautiful, with golden doors set open 
to the wanderer! I made my entrance there that night; — 
often and often as I had been within its enchanted pre- 
cincts before, there were a million halls of marvel as yet 
tmvisited, — ^and among these I found myself, — ^under a 
dome which seemed of purest crystal lit with fire, — Glisten- 
ing to One invisible, who, — ^speaking as from a great heighl:, 
—discoursed to me of Love. 



m 



THE ANGEL OF A DREAM 

The Voice that spoke to me was silvery clear, and fell 
as it were through the air, dividing space with sweetness. 
It was soft and resonant, and the thrill of tenderness within 
it was as though an angel sang through tears. Never had 
I heard anything so divinely pure and compassionate, — 
and all my being strove to lift itself towards that supernal 
height which seemed to be the hidden source of its melodi- 
ous utterance. 

" O Soul, wandering in the region of sleep and dreams ! '* 
said the Voice, — ^''What is all thy searching and labour 
worth without Love ? Why art thou lost in a Silence with- 
out Song?'' 

I raised my eyes, seeking for the one who thus spoke to 
me, but could see nothing. 

** In Life's great choral symphony " — ^the Voice contin- 
ued — ^''the keynote of the dominant melody is Love! 
Without the keynote there can be no music, — ^there is 
dtunbncss where there should be sound, — there is discord 
where there should be harmony. Love! — ^the one vibrant 
tone to which the whole universe moves in time, — Love, 
the breath of God, the pulsation of His Being, the glory 
of His work, the fulfilment of His Eternal Joy, — Love, 
and Love alone, is the web and texture and garment of i 
happy Immortality ! O Soul that seekest the way to wisdom | 
and to power, what dost thou make of Love ? " \ 

73 



74 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

^ I trembled and stood mute. It seemed that I was sur« 
rounded by solemn Presences whose nearness I could fed 
but not see, and unknowing who it was that spoke to me» 
I was afraid to answer. 

" Far in the Past, thousands of ages ago," went on the 
Voice — " the world we call the Sorrowful Star was a per- 
fect note in a perfect scale. It was in tune with the Divine 
Symphony. But with the sweep of centuries it has lagged 
behind ; it has fallen from Light into Shadow. And rather 
than rise to Light again, it has made of itself a discord 
opposed to the eternal Harmony. It has chosen for its 
keynote Hate, — ^not Love ! Each nation envies or despises 
the other, — each man struggles against his fellow-man and 
grudges his neighbour every small advantage, — and more 
than all, each Creed curses the other, blasphemously calling 
upon God to verify and fulfil the curse ! Hate, not Love! — 
this is the false note struck by the pitiful Earth-world tO' 
day, swinging out of all concordance with spherical sweet- 
ness! — Hate that prefers falsehood to truth, malice to 
kindness, selfishness to generosity! O Sorrowful Star! — 
doomed so soon to perish! — ^turn, turn, even in thy last 
moments, back to the Divine Ascendant before it is too 
late ! " 

I listened, — and a sense of hopeless fear possessed me. 
3 tried to speak, and a faint whisper crept from my lips. 

" Why," — I murmured to myself, for I did not suppose 
anyone could or would hear me — *^ why should we and our 
world perish? We knew so little at the beginning, and 
we know so little now, — is it altogether our fault if we 
have lost our way ? " 

A silence followed. A vague, impalpable sense of re- 
straint and captivity seemed closing me in on every side,— 
I was imprisoned, as I thought, within invisible walls. Then 



THE ANGEL OF A DREAM 75 

all at once this density of atmosphere was struck asunder 
by a dazzling light as of cloven wings, but I could see no 
actual shape or even suggestion of substance — ^the glowing 
rays were all. And the Voice spoke again with grave sweet- 
ness and something of reproach. 

" Who speaks of losing the way ? " it asked — " when the 
way is, and has ever been, clear and plain ? Nature teaches 
it, — ^Law and Order support it. Obey and ye shall live: 
disobey and ye shall die! There is no other ruling than 
this out of Chaos! Who is it that speaks of losing the 
way, when the way is, and has been and ever shall be, clear 
and plain ? " 

I stretched out my hands involuntarily. My eyes filled 
with tears. 

" O Angel invisible ! " I prayed — " Forgive my weakness 
and unwisdom ! How can the world be saved or comforted 
by a Love it never finds ! " 

Again a silence. Again that dazzling, quivering radiance, 
flashing as in an atmosphere of powdered gold. 

** What does the world seek most ardently ? " it demanded 
— *' The Love of God ?— or the Love of Self ? If it seeks 
the first, all things in heaven and earth shall be added to 
its desire — if the second, all shall be taken from it, even 
that which it hath ! " 

I had, as I thought, no answer to give, but I covered 
my weeping eyes with both hands and knelt before the 
unseen speaker as to some great Spirit enthroned. 

" Love is not Love that loves Itself," — ^went on the Voice 
— *' Self is the Image, not the God. Wouldst thou have 
Eternal Life? Then find the secret in Eternal Love! — 
Love which can move worlds and create universes, — ^the 
love of soul for soul, angel for angel, god for god ! " i 

I raised my head, and, uncovering my eyes, looked ti^ ' 



>• 



76 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

But I could see nothing save that all-penetrating light which 
imprisoned me as it were in a circle of fire. 

" Love is that Power which clasps the things of eternity 
and makes them all its own/' — said the Voice in stronger 
tones of deeper music — " It builds its solar system, its stars, 
its planets with a thought I — it wakes all beauty, all defight 
with a smile! — it lives not only now, but for ever, in a 
heaven of pure joy where every thousand years is but one 
summer day I To Love there is no time, no space, no age, 
no death! — what it gives it receives again, — ^what it longs 
for comes to it without seeking — God withholds nothing 
from the faithful soul ! " 

I still knelt, wondering if these words were intended 
only for me or for some other listener, for I could not now 
feel sure that I was without a companion in this strange 
experience. 

" There is only one Way of Life," — ^went on the Voice 
— " Only one way — ^the Way of Love ! Whosoever loves 
greatly lives greatly; whosoever misprizes Love is dead 
though living. Give all thy heart and soul to Love if thou 
wouldst be immortal! — for without Love thou mayst seek 
God through all Eternity and never find Him ! " 

I waited, — there was a hriei silence. Then a sudden 
wave of music broke upon my ears, — a breaking foam of 
rhythmic melody that rose and fell in a measured cadence 
of solemn sotmd. Raising my eyes in fear and awe, I saw 
the lambent light around me begin to separate into count- 
less gradations of delicate colour till presently it resembled 
a close and brilliant network of rainbow tints intermingled 
with purest gold. It was as if millions of lines had been 
drawn with exquisite fineness and precision so as to cause 
intersection or * reciprocal meeting ' at given points of cal- 
culation, and these changed into various dazzling forms 



THE ANGEL OF A DREAM 77 

too brilliant for even my dreaming sight to follow. Yet 
I felt myself compelled to study one particular section of 
these lines which shone before me in a kind of pale bright- 
ness, and while I looked it varied to more and more com- 
plex ' moods ' of colour and light, if one might so express 
it, till, by gradual degrees, it returned again to the simpler 
ipombination. 

' " Thus are the destinies of human lives woven and inter- 
woven," — said the Voice — " From infinite and endless 
points of light they grow and part and mingle together, 
till the destined two are one. Often they are entangled 
and disturbed by influences not their own — ^but from inter- 
ference which through weakness or fear they have them- 
selves permitted. But the tangle is for ever imravelled by 
Time, — the parted threads swe brought together again in 
the eternal weaving of Spirit and Matter. No power, 
human or divine, can entirely separate the lives which God 
has ordained shall come together. Man's ordainment is 
not God's ordainment ! Wrong threads in the weaving are 
broken — ^no matter how, — ^no matter when ! Love must be 
tender yet resolved ! — ^Love must not swerve from its given 
pledge ! — ^Love must be All or Nothing ! " 

The light network of living golden rays still quivered 
before my eyes, till all at once they seemed to change to 
a rippling sea of fine flame with waves that gently swayed 
to and fro, tipped with foam-crests of prismatic hue like 
broken rainbows. Wave after wave swept forward and 
broke in bright amethystine spray close to me where I 
knelt, and as I watched this moving mass of radiant colour 
in absorbed fascination, one wave, brilliant as the flush of a 
summer's dawn, rippled towards me, and then gently re- 
tiring, left a single rose, crimson and fragrant, close within | 
my reach. I stooped and caught it quickly — surely it was ^ 



78 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

a real rose from some dewy garden of the earth, and no 
dream ! 

" One rose from all the roses in Heaven ! " said the mystic 
Voice, in tones of enthralling sweetness — *' One — fadeless 
and immortal !— only one, but sufficient for all ! One love 
from all the million loves of men and women — one, but 
enough for Eternity! How long the rose has awaited its 
flowering, — ^how long the love has awaited its fulfilment — 
only the recording angels know ! Such roses bloom but once 
in the wilderness of space and time; such love comes but 
once in a Universe of worlds ! " 

I listened, trembling; I held the rose against my breast 
between my clasped hands. 

" O Sorrowful Star ! " went on the Voice—" What shall 
become of thee if thou forsakest the way of Love! O little 
Sphere of beauty and delight, why are thy people so Wind ! 
O that their eyes were lifted unto Heaven! — their hearts 
to joy! — ^their souls to love! Who is it that darkens life 
with sorrow? — ^who is it that creates the delusion of 
death?" 

I found my speech suddenly. 

" Nay, surely," — I said, half whispering — *' We must all 
die ! " 

" Not so ! " and the mystic Voice rang out imperatively 
« — " There is no death ! For God is alive !^ — ^and from Him 
Life only can emanate ! " 

I held my peace, moved by a sudden sweet awe. 

" From Eternal Life no death can come," — continued the 
Voice — " from Eternal Love flows Eternal Joy. Change 
there is, — change there must be to higher forms and higher 
planes, — ^but Life and Love remain as they are, indestructi- 
ble — ' the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever ! ' " 

I bent my face over the rose against my breast, — ^its 



THE ANGEL OF A DREAM 79 

perfume was deliciously soft and penetrating, and half un- 
consciously I kissed its velvet petals. As I did this a swift 
and dazzling radiance poured shower-like through the air, 
and again I heard mysterious chords of rh3rthmic melody 
rising and falling like distant waves of the sea. The 
grave, tender VoiCfe spoke once again: 

" Rise and go hence ! " it said, in tones of thrilling gentle- 
ness — " Keep the gift God sends thee ! — ^take that which 
is thine ! Meet that which hath sought thee sorrowing for 
many centuries! Turn not aside again, neither by thine 
own will nor by the will of others, lest old errors prevail ! 
Pass from vision into waking ! — from night to day ! — from 
seeming death to life ! — from loneliness to love ! — ^and keep 
within thy heart the message of a Dream ! " . 

The light beating about me like curved wings slowly 
paled and as slowly vanished — ^yet I felt that I must still 
kneel and wait. This atmosphere of awe and trembling 
gradually passed away, — ^and then, rising as I thought, and 
holding the mystic rose with one hand still against my 
breast, I turned to feel my way through the darkness which 
now encompassed me. As I did this my other hand was 
caught by someone in a warm, eager clasp, and I was guided 
along with an infinitely tender yet masterful touch which 
I had no hesitation in obeying. Step by step I moved with 
a strange sense of happy reliance on my unseen companion 
—darkness or distance had no terrors for me. And as I 
went onward with my hand held firmly in that close yet 
gentle grasp, my thoughts became as it were suddenly 
cleared into a heaven of comprehension — I looked back 
upon years of work spread out like an arid desert un- 
cheered by any spring of sweet water — ^and I saw all that 
my life had lacked — all to which I had unconsciously 
pressed forward longingly without any distinct recognition 



8o THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

of my own aims, and only trusting to the infinite powers 
of God and Nature to amend my incompleteness by the 
perfection of the everlasting Whole. And now — had the 
answer come? At any rate, I felt I was no longer alone. 
Someone who seemed the natural other half of myself 
was beside me in the shadows of sleep— I could have spoken, 
but would not, for fear of breaking the chann. 

And so I went on and on, caring little how long the 
journey might be, and even vaguely wishing it might con- 
tinue for ever, — when presently a faint light began to peer 
through the gloom — I saw a glimmer of blue and grey, then 
white, then rose-colour — ^and I awoke — to find nothing of 
a visionary character about me unless perhaps a shaft of 
early morning sunshine streaming through the port-hole of 
my cabin could be called a reflex of the mystic glory which 
had surrounded me in sleep. I then remembered where I 
was, — ^yet I was so convinced of the reality of what I had 
seen and heard that I looked about me everywhere for that 
lovely crimson rose I had brought away with me from 
Dreamland — for I could actually feel its stem still between 
my fingers. It was not to be seen — but there was a delicate 
fragrance on the air as if it were blooming near me — a 
fragrance so fine that nothing could describe its subtly per- 
vading odour. Every word spoken by the Voice of my 
dream was vividly impressed on my brain, and more vivid 
still was the recollection of the hand that had clasped mine 
and led me out of sleep to waking. I was conscious of 
its warmth yet, — and I was troubled, even while I was 
soothed, by the memory of the lingering caress with which 
it had been at last withdrawn. And I wondered as I lay 
for a few moments in my bed inert, and thinking of all 
that had chanced to me in the night, whether the long 
and earnest patience of my soul, ever turned as it had 



THE ANGEL OF A DREAM 8i 

been for years towards the attainment of a love higher 
than all earthly attraction, was now about to be recom- 
pensed? I knew, and had always known, that whatsoever 
we strongly will to possess comes to us in due season; 
and that steadily resolved prayers are always granted; the 
only drawback to the exertion of this power is the doubt 
as to whether the thing we desire so ardently will work 
us good or ill. For there is no question but that what 
we seek we shall find. I had sought long and unwearyingly 
for the clue to the secret of life imperishable and love 
eternal, — ^was the mystery about to be unveiled? I could 
not tell — ^and I dare not humour the mere thought too long. 
Shaking my mind free from the web of marvel and per- 
plexity in which it had been caught by the visions of the 
night, I placed myself in a passively receptive attitude — 
demanding nothing, fearing nothing, hoping nothing — ^but 
simply content with actual Life, feeling Life to be the out- 
come and expression of perfect Love. 



IV 



A BUNCH OF HEATHER 

It was a glorious morning, and so warm that I went up 
on deck without any hat or cloak, glad to have the sunlight 
playing on my hair and the soft breeze blowing on my face. 
The scene was perfectly enchanting; the mountains were 
bathed in a delicate rose-purple glow reflected from the 
past pomp of the sun's rising, — ^the water was still as an 
inland lake, and every mast and spar of the ' Diana ' was 
reflected in it as in a mirror. A flock of sea-gulls floated 
round our vessel, like fairy boats — some of them rising 
every now and then with eager cries to wing their graceful 
flight high through the calm air, and alight again with a 
flash of silver pinions on the translucent blue. While I 
stood gazing in absorbed delight at the beauty which every- 
where surrounded me, Captain Derrick called to me from 
his little bridge, where he stood with folded arms, looking 
down. 

" Good morning ! What do you think of the mystery, 
now ? " 

" Mystery ? " And then his meaning flashed upon me. 
" Oh, the yacht that anchored near us last night ! Where 
is she?" 

" Just so ! " And the captain's look expressed volumes — 
"Where is she?" 

Oddly enough, I had not thought of the stranger vessel 
till this moment, though the music sounding from her deck 

82 



A BUNCH OF HEATHER 83 

had been the last thing which had haunted my ears before 
I had slept — ^and dreamed! And now— she was gone! 
There was not a sign of her anywhere. 

I looked up at the captain on his bridge and smiled. 
, " She must have started very early ! " I said. 

The captain's fuzzy brows met portentously. 

" Ay ! Very early ! So early that the watch never saw 
her go. He must have missed an hour and she must have 
gained one." 

" It's rather strange, isn't it ? " I said — " May I come 
on the bridge ? " 

" Certainly." 

I ran up the little steps and stood beside him, looking 
out to the farthest line of sea and sky. 

"What do you think about it?" I asked, laughingly, 
" Was she a real yacht or a ghost ? " 
1 The captain did not smile. His brow was furrowed with 
perplexed consideration. 

" She wasn't a ghost," he said — " but her ways were 
ghostly. That is, she made no noise, — ^and she sailed with- 
out wind. Mr. Harland may say what he likes, — I stick to 
that. She had no steam, but she carried full sail, and she 
came into the Sound with all her canvas bellying out as 
though she were driven by a stormy sou'wester. There's 
been no wind all night — ^yet she's gone, as you see — 
and not a man on board heard the weighing of her 
anchor. When she went and how she went beats me 
altogether!" • 

At that moment we caught sight of a small rowing boat 
coming out to us from the shore, pulled by one man, who 
bent to -his oars in a slow, listless way as though disin- 
clined for the labour. 

" Boat ahoy ! " shouted the captain. 



I 



84 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

The man looked up and signalled in answer. A couple 
of our sailors went to throw him a rope as he brought his 
craft alongside. He had come, so he slowly explained in 
his soft, slow, almost unintelligible Highland dialect, with 
fresh eggs and butter, hoping to effect a sale. The steward 
was summoned, and bargaining began. I listened and 
looked on, amused and interested, and I presently suggested 
to the captain that it might be as well to ask this man if 
he too had seen the yacht whose movements appeared so 
baffling and inexplicable. The captain at once took the 
hint. 

" Say, Donald," he began, invitingly — '' did you see the 
big yacht that came in last night about ten o'clock? ** 

" Ou ay ! " was the slow answer — '^ But my name's no 
Tonald, — ^it's just Jamie." 

Captain Derrick laughed jovially. 
Beg pardon ! Jamie, then ! Did you see the yacht ? ** 
Ou ay ! I've seen her mony a day. She's a real shentle- 
man.' 

I smiled. 

"The yacht?" 

Jamie looked up at me. 

" Ah, my leddy, ye'll pe makin' a fule o' Jamie wi* tL 
glance like a sun-sparkle on the sea! Jamie's no fule wi' 
the right sort, an' the yacht is a shentleman, an' the shen- 
tleman's the yacht, for it's the shentleman that pays what- 
effer." 

Captain Derrick became keenly interested. 

" The gentleman? The owner of the yacht, you mean?' 

Jamie nodded — " Just that ! " — and proceeded to count 
out his store of new-laid eggs with great care as he placed 
them in the steward's basket. 

"What's his name?" 



it 



A BUNCH OF HEATHER 85 



"Ah, that's ower mickle learnin'/' — said Jamie, with 
a cunning look — " I canna say it rightly." 

" Can you say it wrongly? " I suggested. 

" I wadna ! " he replied, and he lifted his eyes, which 
were dark and piercing, to my face — " I dauma ! " 

" Is he such a very terrible gentleman, then ? " enquired 
Captain Derrick, jocosely. 

Jamie's countenance was impenetrable. 

" Ye'U pe seein' her for yourself whateffer," — ^he said — 
** Ye'll no miss her in the waters 'twixt here an' Skye.** 

He stooped and fumbled in his basket, presently bringing 
out of it a small bunch of pink bell-heather, — the delicate 
waxen type of blossom which is found only in mossy, 
marshy places. 

" The shentleman wanted as much as I could find o' this," 
— ^he said — " An' he had it a' but this wee bittie. Will my 
kddy wear it for luck ? " 

I took it from his hand. 

" As a gift ? " I asked, smiling. 

" I wadna tak ony money for't," — ^he answered, with a 
curious expression of something like fear passing over his 
brown, weather-beaten features — " 'Tis fairies' making." 

I put the little bunch in my dress. As I did so, he doffed 
his cap. 

" Good day t'ye ! I'll be no seein' ye this way again ! " 

** Why not ? How do you know ? " 

" One way in and another way out ! " he said, his voice 
sinking to a sort of meditative croon — " One road to the 
West, and the other to the East ! — ^and round about to the 
meeting-place ! Ou ay ! Ye'll mak it clear sailin' ! " 

"Without wind, eh?" interposed Captain Derrick—^ 
" Like your friend the * shentleman ' ? How does he man- 
age that business? " 



86 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

Jamie looked round with a frightened air, like an animal 
scenting danger, — ^then, shouldering his empty basket, he 
gave us a hasty nod of farewell, and, scrambling down 
the companion ladder without another word, was soon in 
his boat again, rowing away steadily and never once look- 
ing back. 

' " A wild chap ! " said the captain — " Many of these fel- 
lows get half daft, living so much alone in desolate places 
like Mull, and seeing nothing all their time but doud and 
mountain and sea. He seems to know something about 
that yacht, though ! " 

" That yacht is on your brain. Captain ! " I said, merrily 
f -" I feel quite sorry for you ! And yet I daresay if wc 
meet her again the mystery will turn out to be very simple.** 

" It will have to be either very simple or very complex ! '* 
he answered, with a laugh — ^'' I shall need a good deal of 
teaching to show me how a sailing yacht can make steam 
speed without wind. Ah, good morning, sir ! " 

And we both turned to greet Mr. Harland, who had 
just come up on deck. He looked ill and careworn, as 
though he had slept badly, and he showed but faint interest 
in the tale of the strange yacht's sudden exit. 

" It amuses you, doesn't it ? " — he said, addressing me 
with a little cynical smile wrinkling up his forehead and 
eyes — " Anything that cannot be at once explained is al- 
ways interesting and delightful to a woman! That is why 
spiritualistic * mediums ' make money. They do clever 
tricks which cannot be explained, hence their success with 
the credulous." 

" Quite so " — I replied — " but just allow me to say that 
I am no believer in ' mediums.' " 

" True, — I forgot ! '* He rubbed his hand wearily over 
his brows — ^then asked — " Did you sleep well ? " 



A BUNCH OF HEATHER 87 



0€ 






Splendidly ! And I must really thank you for my lovely 
rooms, — ^they are almost too luxurious! They are fit for 
a princess." 

" Why a princess ? " he queried, ironically — *' Princesses 
are not always agreeable personages. I know one or two, 
—fat, ugly and stupid. Some of them are dirty in their 
persons and in their habits. There are certain ' princesses ' 
in Europe who ought to be washed and disinfected before 
being given any rooms anywhere ! " 

I laughed. 
Oh, you are very bitter ! " I said. 
Not at all. I like accuracy. ' Princess ' to the ingenu- 
ous mind suggests a fairy tale. I have not an ingenuous 
mind. I know that the princesses of the fairy tales do not 
exist, — unless you are one." 

" Me ! " I exclaimed, in amazement — " I'm very far from 
that " 

" Well, you are a dreamer ! " he said, and resting his 
arms on the deck rail he looked away from me down into 
the stmlit sea — ^^ You do not live here in this world with 
us — ^you think you do, — ^and yet in your own mind you 
know you do not. You dream — ^and your life is that of 
vision simply. Fm not sure that I should like to see you 
wake. For as long as you can dream you will believe in 
the fairy tale; — ^the ' princess ' of Hans Andersen and the 
Brothers Grimm holds good — and that is why you should 
have pretty things about you, — ^music, roses and the like 
trifles, — ^to keep up the delicate delusion." 

I was surprised and just a little vexed at his way of talk- 
ing. Why, even with the underlying flattery of his words, 
should he call me a dreamer? I had worked for my own 
living as practically as himself in the world, and if not 
with such financially successful results, only because va^^ 



\ 



88 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

aims had never been mere money-spinning. He had at- 
tained enormous wealth, — I a modest competence, — he was 
old and I was young, — he was ill and miserable, — ^I was 
well and happy, — which of us was the 'dreamer'? My 
thoughts were busy with this question, and he saw it. 

" Don't perplex yourself," — ^he said, — " and don't be of- 
fended with me for my frankness. My view of life is not 
yours, — ^nor are we ever likely to see things from the same 
standpoint. Yours is the more enviable condition. You 
are looking well, — ^you feel well — ^you are well! Health 
is the best of all things." He paused, and lifting his eyes 
from the contemplation of the water, regarded me fixedly. 
"That's a lovely bit of bell-heather you're wearing! It 
glows like fiery topaz." 

I explained how it had been given to me. 

" Why, then, you've already established a connection with 
the strange yacht ! " he said, laughing — *' The owner, ac- 
cording to your Highland fellow, has the same blossoms 
on board, — ^probably gathered from the same morass!— 
surely this is quite romantic and exciting ! " 

And at breakfast, when Dr. Brayle and Mr. Swinton 
appeared, they all made conversation on the subject of my 
bunch of heather, till I got rather tired of it, and was half 
inclined to take it off and throw it away. Yet somehow: 
I could not do this. Glancing at my own reflection in a 
mirror, I saw what a brilliant yet dainty touch of colour 
it gave to the plain white serge of my yachting dress,—- 
it was a pretty contrast, and I left it alone. 

Miss Catherine did not get up to breakfast, but she sent 
for me afterwards and asked if I would mind sitting with 
her for a while. I did mind in a way, — for the day was 
fair and fine, — ^the ' Diana * was preparing to pursue her 
course, — and it was far pleasanter to be on deck in the 



A BUNCH OF HEATHER 89^ 

fresh air than in Miss Catherine's state-room, which, though 
quite spacious for a yacht's accommodation, looked rather 
dreary, having no carpet on the floor, no curtains to the 
bed, and no little graces of adornment anywhere, — ^nothing 
but a few shelves against the wall on which were ranged 
some blue and black medicine bottles, relieved by a small 
array of pill-boxes. But I felt sorry for the poor woman 
who had elected to make her life a martyrdom to nerves, 
and real or imaginary aches and pains, so I went to her, 
determined to do what I could to cheer and rouse her from 
her condition of chronic depression. Directly I entered het 
cabin she said: 

" Where did you get that bright bit of heather ? " 

I told her the whole story, to which she listened with 
more patience than she usually showed for any talk in 
which she had not first share. 

" It's really quite interesting ! " she said, with a reluctant 
smile — '* I suppose it was the strange yacht that had the 
music on board last night. It kept me awake. I thought 
it was some tiresome person out in a boat with a gramo- 
phone." 

I laughed. 

" Oh, Miss Harland ! " I exclaimed — ^' Surely you could 
not have thought it a gramophone! Such music! It was 
perfectly exquisite ! " 

" Was it ? " And she drew the ugly grey woollen shawl 
in which she was wrapped closer about her sallow throat 
as she sat up in her bed and looked at me — " Well, it may 
have been, to you, — ^you seem to find delight in everything, 
^I'm sure I don't know why! Of course it's very nice 
to have such a happy disposition — ^but really that music 
teased me dreadfully. Such a bore having music when you 
want to go to sleep." 



'90 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

I was silent, and having a piece of embroidery to oocopy 
my hands I began to work at it. 

" I hope you're quite comfortable on board/' — she re- 
sumed, presently — " Have you all you want in your 
rooms ? " 

I assured her that everything was perfect. 

She sighed. 

" I wish I could say the same ! " she said — ** I really bate 
yachting, but father likes it, so I must sacrifice m3rself." 
Here she sighed again. I saw she was really convinced that 
she was immolating herself on the altar of filial obedience. 
" You know he is very ill," — she went on — ^' and that he 
cannot live long?" 

" He told me something about it," — ^I answered — ** and 
1 ^aid then, as I say now, that the doctors may be wrong." 

*' Oh no, they cannot be wrong in his case," she declared, 
shaking her head dianally — " They know the S3miptoms, 
and they can only avert the end for a time. I'm very thank- 
ful Dr. Brayle was able to come with us on this trip." 

*' I suppose he is paid a good deal for his services?" I 
said. 

" Eight hundred guineas " — she answered — *^ But, yov 
see, he has to leave his patients in London, and find an- 
other man to attend to them during his absence. He is so 
very clever and so much sought after — I don't know what 
I should do without him, Fm sure ! " 

Ha5 he any special treatment for you ? " I asked. 
Oh yes, — ^he gives me electricity. He has a wonderful 
battery— he has got it fitted up here in the next cabin — 
and while I hold two handles he turns it on and it runs 
all over me. I feel always better for the moment — ^but 
the effect soon passes." 

I looked at her with a smile. 



u 



A BUNCH OF HEATHER 91 

" I should think so ! Dear Miss Harland, do you really 
believe in that way of administering electricity ? " 

" Of course I do ! " she answered — " You see, it's all a 
question of what they call bacteriology nowadays. Medi- 
cine is no use unless it can kill the microbes that are eating 
us up inside and out. And there's scarcely any drug that 
can do that. Electricity is the only remedy. It gives the 
little brutes a shock ; " — and the poor lady laughed weakly 
— '^and it kills some, but not all. It's a dreadful scheme 
of creation, don't you think, to make human beings no 
better than happy hunting grounds for invisible creatures to 
feed upon ? " 

*' It depends on what view you take of it," — I said, laying 
down my work and trying to fix her attention, a matter 
which was always difficult — " We human beings are com- 
posed of good and evil particles. If the good are encour- 
aged, they drive out the evil, — if the evil, they drive out 
the good. It's the same with the body as the soul, — if 
we encourage the health- working ' microbes ' as you call 
them, they will drive out disease from the human organism 
altogether." 

She sank back on her pillow wearily. 

"We can't do it," — she said — ^"AU the chances arc 
against us. What's the use of our trying to encourage 
' health- working microbes ' ? The disease- working ones 
have got the upper hand Just think !— our parents, grand- 
parents and great-grandparents are to blame for half our 
evils. Their diseases become ours in various new forms. 
It's cruel, — ^horrible ! How anyone can believe that a God 
of Love created such a frightful scheme passes my compre- 
hension ! The whole thing is a mere business of eating to 
be eaten ! " 

She looked so wan and wild that I pitied her greatly. 



I 



92 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

'' Surely that is not what you think at the bottom o{ 
your heart ? " I said, gently — " I should be very sorry for 
you if I thought you really meant what you say." 

" Well, you may be as sorry for me as you Uke " — and 
the poor lady blinked away tears from her eyes — ** I need 
someone to be sorry for me ! I tell you my life is a perfect 
torture. Every day I wonder how long I can bear it I I 
have such dreadful thoughts ! I picture the horrible things 
that are happening to different people all over the world, 
nobody helping them or caring for them, and I almost fed 
as if I must scream for mercy. It wouldn't be any use 
screaming, — ^but the scream is in my soul all the same. 
People in prisons, people in shipwrecks, people dying by 
inches in hospitals, no good in their lives and no hope-^ 
and not a sign of comfort from the God whom the Churches 
praise ! It's awful ! I don't see how anybody can do any- 
thing or be ambitious for anything — it's all mere waste of 
energy. One of the reasons that made me so anxious to 
have you come on this trip with us is that you always seem 
contented and happy, — and I want to know why? It's a 
question of temperament, I suppose — ^but do tell me 
why ! " 

She stretched out her hand and touched mine appealingly. 
I took her worn and wasted fingers in my own and pressed. 
them sympathetically. 

" My dear Miss Harland," — I began. 

" Oh, call me Catherine " — she interrupted — '* I'm so 
tired of being Miss Harland ! " 

" Well, Catherine, then," — I said, smiling a little— 
" Surely you know why I am contented and happy ? " 

" No, I do not," — she said, with quick, almost querulous/ 
eagerness — " I don't understand it at all. You have none 
of the things that please women. You don't seem to care 



A BUNCH OF HEATHER 93 

about dress though you are always well-gowned — ^you don't 
go to balls or theatres or race-meetings, — ^you are a general 
favourite, yet you avoid society, — ^you've never troubled 
yourself to take your chances of marriage, — ^and so far as 
I know or have heard tell about you, you haven't even a 
lover!" 

My cheeks grew suddenly warm. A curious resentment 
awoke in me at her words — ^had I indeed no lover ? Surely 
I had {—one that I knew well and had known for a long 
time, — one for whom I had guarded my life sacredly as 
belonging to another as well as to myself, — a lover who 
loved me beyond all power of human expression, — ^here the 
rush of strange and inexplicable emotion in me was hurled 
back on my mind with a shock of mingled terror and sur- 
prise from a dead wall of stony fact, — it was true, of 
course, and Catherine Harland was right — I had no lover. 
No man had ever loved me well enough to be called by such 
a name. The flush cooled off my face, — ^the hurry of my 
thoughts slackened, — ^I took up my embroidery and began 
to work at it again. 

"That is so, isn't it?" persisted Miss Harland — 
" Though you blush and grow pale as if there was someone 
in the background." 

I met her inquisitive glance and smiled. 

" There is no one," — I said — " There never has been any- 
one." I paused; I could almost feel the warmth of the 
strong hand that had held mine in my dream of the past 
night. It was mere fancy, and I went on — " I should not 
care for what modern men and women call love. It seems 
very unsatisfactory." 

She sighed. 

" It is frequently very selfish," — she said — " I want to tell 
you my love-story — ^may I ? " 



94 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

" Why, of course ! " I answered, a little wonderinglyy for 
I had not thought she had a love-story to tell. 

" It's very brief," — she said, and her lip quivered-*^ 
" There was a man who used to visit our house very often 
when I first came out, — ^he made me believe he was very 
fond of me. I was more than fond of him — I almost wor- 
shipped him. He was all the world to me, and though 
father did not like him very much he wished me to be 
happy, so we were engaged. That was the time of my 
life — ^the only time I ever knew what happiness was. One 
evening, just about three months before we were to be 
married, we were together at a party in the house of one 
of our mutual friends, and I heard him talking rather 
loudly in a room where he and two or three other men 
had gone to smoke. He said something that made me 
stand still and wonder whether I was mad or dreaming. 

* Pity me when Fm married to Catherine Harland ! ' Pity 
him? I listened, — I knew it was wrong to listen, but I 
could not help myself. ' Well, you'll get enough cash with 
her to set you all right in the world, anyhow,' — ^said an- 
other man, ' You can put up with a plain wife for the sake 
of a pretty fortune.' Then he, — ^my love I — spoke again — 

* Oh, I shall make the best of it,' he said — ' I must have 
money somehow, and this is the easiest way. There's one 
good thing about modem life, — husbands and wives don't 
hunt in couples as they used to do, so when once the knot 
is tied I shall shift my matrimonial burden oflF my shoul- 
ders as much as I can. She'll amuse herself with her 
clothes and the household, — and she's fond of me, so I 
shall always have my own way. But it's an awful mar- 
tyrdom to have to marry one woman on account of empty 
pockets when you're in love with another.' I heard, — and 
then — I don't know what happened." 



A BUNCH OF HEATHER 95 

Her eyes stared at me so pitifully that I was full of sor- 
row for her. 

" Oh, you poor Catherine ! " I said, and taking her 
hand, I kissed it gently. The tears in her eyes brimmed 
over. 

" They found me lying on the floor insensible," — she 
went on, tremulously — '' And I was very ill for a long time 
afterwards. People could not understand it when I broke 
off my engagement. I told nobody why — except him. He 
seemed sorry and a little ashamed, — ^but I think he was 
more vexed at losing my fortune than anything else. I 
said t© him that I had never thought about being plain,— 
that the idea of his loving me had made me feel beautiful. 
That was true! — ^my dear, I almost believe I should have 
grown into beauty if I had been sure of his love." 

I understood that ; she was perfectly right in what to thv, 
entirely commonplace person would seem a fanciful theory. 
Love makes all things fair, and anyone who is conscious 
of being tenderly loved grows lovely, as a rose that is 
conscious of the sun grows into form and colour. 

Well, it was all over then," — she ended, with a sigh, 
I never was quite myself again — I think my nerves got 
a sort of shock such as the great novelist, Charles Dickensi 
had when he was in the railway accident — ^you remember 
the tale in Forster's ' Life '? How the carriage hung over 
the edge of an embankment but did not actually fall, — ^and 
Dickens was clinging on to it all the time. He never got 
over it, and it was the remote cause of his death five years 
later. Now I have felt just like that, — ^my life has hung 
over a sort of chasm ever since I lost my love, and I only 
cling on. 






g on. " 



But surely," — I ventured to say — " surely there are J 
other things to live for than just the memory of one man's ^ 



96 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

love which was not love at all ! You seem to think there 
was some cruelty or unhappiness in the chance that sqn 
arated you from him, — ^but really it was a special mercj 
and favour of God — only you have taken it in the wrong 
way." 

" I have taken it in the only possible way/' — she said 
— " With resignation." 

"Oh, do you call it resignation?" I exclaimed — ^*To 
make a misery of what should have been a gladness? 
Think of the years and years of wretchedness you might 
have passed with ^ man who was a merely selfish fortune- 
htmter ! You would have had to see him grow colder and 
more callous every day — ^your heart would have been torn, 
your spirit broken — and God spared you all this by givijog 
you your chance of freedom ! Such a chance ! You might 
have made much of it, if you had only chosen! " 

She looked at me, but did not speak. 

" Love comes to us in a million beautiful ways," — ^I went 
on, heedless of how she might take my words — " The ordi- 
nary love,— or, I would say, the ordinary mating and mar- 
riage is only one way. You cannot live in the world without 
being loved — if you love ! " 

She moved on her pillows restlessly. 

" I can't see what you mean," — she said — ^" How can I 
love ? I have nothing to love ! " 

" But do you not see that you are shutting yourself out 
from love? " I said — " You will not have it! You bar its 
approach. You encourage your sad and morbid fancies, and 
think of illness when you might just as well think of 
health. Oh, I know you will say I am ' up in the air ' as 
your father expresses it, — ^but it's true all the same that 
if you love everything in Nature — yes, everything! — sun- 
shine, air, cloud, rain, trees, birds, blossom^ — ^they will love 



A BUNCH OF HEATHER 97 

you in return and give you some of their life and strength 
and beauty/* 

She smiled, — a very bitter little smile. 

" You talk like a poet," — she said — " And of all things 
in the world I hate poetry I There ! — don't think me cross ! 
Go along and be happy in your own strange fanciful way ! 
I cannot be other than I am, — ^Dr. Brayle will tell you that 
I'm not strong enough to share in other people's lives and 
aims and pleasures, — I must always consider myself." 

" Dr. Brayle tells you that ? " I queried — " To consider 
yourself?" 

*'Of course he docs. If I had not considered mysdf 
every hour and every day, I should have been dead long 
ago. I have to consider ever3rthing I eat and drink lest 
it should make me ill." 

I rose from my seat beside her. 

" I wish I could cure you ! " I murmured. 

" My dear girl, if you could, you would, I am sure," — 
she answered — " You are very kind-hearted. It has done 
xnc good to talk to you and tell you all my sad little his- 
tory. I shall get up presently and have my electricity and 
feel quite bright for a time. But as for a cure, you might 
as well try to cure my father." 

" None are cured of any ailment unless they resolve to 
help along the cure themselves," I said. 

She gave a weary little laugh. 

"Ah, that's one of your pet theories, but it's no use to 
me! I'm past all helping of myself, so you may give me 
up as a bad job ! " 

*' But you asked me," I went on — " did you not, to tell 
you why it is that 1 am contented and happy? Do you 
really want to know ? " 

A vague distrust crept into her faded eyes. 



98 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 



" Not if it's a theory ! " she said — " I should not have thi 
brain or the patience to think it out." 

I laughed. 

" It's not a theory, it's a truth " — I answered — ** But 
truth is sometimes more difficult than theory." 

She looked at me half in wonder, half in appeal. 

"Well, what is it?" 

" Just this " — ^and I knelt beside her for a moment hold- 
ing her hand — " I know that there are no external sur- 
roundings which we do not make for ourselves, and that 
our troubles are bom of our own wrong thinking, and arc 
not sent from God. I train my Soul to be calm, — and my 
body obeys my Soul. That's all ! " 

Her fingers closed on mine nervously. 

" But what's the use of telling me this ? " she half whis- 
pered — " I don't believe in God or the Soul ! " 

I rose from my kneeling attitude. 

" Poor Catherine ! " I said — " Then indeed it is no use 
telling you an3^hing ! You are in darkness instead of day- 
light, and no one can make you see. Oh, what can I do 
to help you?" 

" Nothing," — she answered — " My faith — it was never 
very much, — was taken from me altogether when I was 
quite young. Father made it seem absurd. He's a clever 
man, you know — and in a few words he makes out religion 
to be utter nonsense." 

" I understand ! " 

And indeed I did entirely understand. Her father was 
one of a rapidly increasing class of men who are a danger 
to the community, — a cold, cynical shatterer of every noble 
ideal, — a sneerer at patriotism and honour, — a deliberate 
iconoclast of the most callous and remorseless type. That 
he had good points in his character was not to be denied.— 



A BUNCH OF HEATHER 99 

a murderer may have these. But to be in his company 
for very long was to feel that there is no good in anything 
— ^that life is a mistake of Nature, and death a fortunate 
ending of the blunder — ^that God is a delusion and the 
* Soul * a mere expression signifying certain intelligent 
movements of the brain only. 

I stood silently thinking these things, while she watched 
me rather wistfully. Presently she said: 

" Are you going on deck now ? " 

" Yes." 

" Fll join you all at luncheon. Don't lose that bit of 
heather in your dress, — it's really quite brilliant — ^like a 
jewel." 

I hesitated a moment. 

" You're not vexed with me for speaking as I have 
done ? " I asked her. 

" Vexed? No, indeed! I love to hear you and see you 
defending your own fairy ground! For it is like a fairy 
tale, you know — ^all that you believe ! " 

" It has practical results, anyway ! " — I answered — " You 
muist admit that." 

" Yes — I know, — and it's just what I can't understand. 
We'll have another talk about it some day. Would you tell 
Dr. Brayle that I shall be ready for him in ten minutes ? " 

I assented, and left her. I made for the dedc directly, 
the air meeting me with a rush of salty softness as I ran 
up the saloon stairway. What a glorious day it was! 
Sky, sea and mountains were bathed in brilliant sunshine; 
the ' Diana ' was cutting her path swiftly through waters 
which marked her course on either side by a streak of white 
foam. I mentally contrasted the loveliness of the scene 
around me with the stuffy cabin I had just left, and seeing 
Dr. Brayle smoking comfortably in a long reclining chair 



\ 



loo THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

and reading a paper I went up to him and touched hint 
on the shoulder. 

" Your patient wants you in ten minutes/' — I said 

He rose to his feet at once, courteously offering me a 
chair, which I declined, and drew his cigar from his mouth. 

" I have two patients on board/' — he answered, smiling^ 
—"Which one?" \ 

" The one who is your patient from choice, not neces- 
sity," — I replied, coolly. 

" My dear lady ! " His eyes blinked at me with a furtive 
astonishment — " If you were not so charming I should say 
you were — well ! — shall I say it ? — a trifle opinionated I " 

I laughed. 

" Granted! " I said — " If it is opinionated to be honest 
I plead guilty! Miss Harland is as well as you or I,— 
she's only morbid." 

" True ! — ^but morbidness is a form of illness, — a malady 
of the nerves " 

I laughed again, much to his visible annoyance. 

" Curable by outward applications of electricity ? '* I 
queried — " When the mischief is in the mind? But there! 
— I mustn't interfere, I suppose! Nevertheless you keep 
Miss Harland ill when she might be quite well." 

A disagreeable line furrowed the comers of his mouth. 

" You think so ? Among your many accomplishments 
do you count the art of medicine?" 

I met his shifty brown eyes, and he dropped them quickly. 

" I know nothing about it," — I answered — " Except this 
—that the cure of any mind trouble must come from within 
— not from without. And I'm not a Christian Scientist 
either." 

He smiled cynically. 

" Really not ? I should have thought you were ! *• . 



A BUNCH OF HEATHER lof 



€t 






You would make a grave error if you thought so," 
I responded, curtly. 

A keen and watchful interest flashed over his dark face. 

" I should very much like to know what your theories 
arc " — ^he said, suddenly — '' You interest me greatly." 

" I'm sure I do ! '* I answered, smiling. 

He looked me up and down for a moment in perplexity 
—then shrugged his shoulders. 

" You are a strange creature ! *' he said — " I cannot make 
you out. If I were asked to give a ' professional ' opinion 
of you I should say you were very neurotic and highly- 
strung, and given over to self-delusions." 

" Thanks ! " — ^and I made him a demure little curtsy. " I 
look it,. don't I?" 

No — ^you don't look it; but looks are deceptive." 
There I agree with you," — I said — " But one has to 
go by them sometimes. If I am ' neurotic,' my looks do 
not pity me, and ray condition of health leaves nothing to 
desire." 

His brows met in a slight frown. He glanced at his 
watch. 

" I must go," — ^he said — " Miss Harland will be wait- 
mg. 

" And the electricity will get cold ! " I added, gaily. 
" See if you can feel my ' neurotic ' pulse ! " 

He took the hand I extended — ^and remained quite still. 
Conscious of the secret force I had within myself I re- 
solved to try if I could use it upon him in such a way as 
to keep him a prisoner till I chose to let him go. I watched 
him till his eyes began to look vague and a kind of fixity 
settled on his features, — he was perfectly unconscious that 
I held him at my pleasure, — ^and presently, satisfied with 
my experiment, T ••elaxed the spell and withdrew my hand 



I02 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

" Quite regular, isn't it ? " I said, carelessly. 

He started as if roused from a sleep, but replied 
quickly : 

" Yes— oh yes — ^perfectly ! — I had almost forgotten what 
I was doing. I was thinking of something else. Miss 
Harland " 

" Yes, Miss Harland is ready for you by this time '*— » 
and I smiled. " You must tell her I detained yoiu" 

He nodded in a more or less embarrassed manner, and 
turning away from me, went rather slowly down the saloon 
stairs. 

I gave a sigh of relief when he was gone. I had from 
the first moment of our meeting recognised in him a mental 
organisation which in its godless materialism and indiffer- 
ence to consequences, was opposed to every healthful influ- 
ence that might be brought to bear on his patients for their 
well-being, whatever his pretensions to medical skill might 
be. It was to his advantage to show them the worst side 
of a disease in order to accentuate his own cleverness in 
dealing with it, — it served his purpose to pamper their dark- 
est imaginings, play with their whims and humour their 
caprices, — ^I saw all this and understood it. And I was 
glad that so far as I might be concerned, I had the power 
to master him. 



y 



AN UNEXPECTED MEETING 

To spend a few days on board a yacht with the same 
companions is a very good test of the value of sympathetic 
vibration in human associations. I found it so. I might 
as well have been quite alone on the ' Diana ' as with Mor- 
ion Harland and his daughter, though they were always 
uniformly kind to me and thoughtful of my comfort. But 
between us there was ' a great gulf fixed/ though every 
now and again Catherine Harland made feeble and pathetic 
efforts to cross that gulf and reach me where I stood on 
the other side. But her strength was not equal to the task, 
— her will-power was sapped at its root, and every day 
she allowed herself to become more and more pliantly the 
prey of Dr. Brayle, who, with a subconscious feeling that 
I knew him to be a mere medical charlatan, had naturally 
warned her against me as an imaginative theorist without 
any foundation of belief in my own theories. I therefore 
shut myself within a fortress of reserve, and declined toj 
discuss any point of either religion or science with those 
for whom the one was a farce and the other mere ma- 
terialism. At all times when we were together I kept the 
conversation deliberately down to commonplaces which 
were safe, if dull, — ^and it amused me not a little to see that 
at this course of action on my part Mr. Harland was first 
surprised, then disappointed and finally bored. And I was . 
glad. That I should bore him as much as he bored me wasl 

102 ' 



104 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

the happy consummation of my immediate desires. I tallced 
as all conventional women talk, of the ^'eather, of our mini- 
mum and maximum speed, of the newspaper ' sensations ' 
and vulgarities that were served up to us whenever we called 
at a port for the mails,— of the fish that frequented such 
and such waters, of sport, of this and that millionaire whose 
Highland castle or shooting-box was crammed with the 
' elite ' whose delight is to kill innocent birds and animals 
—of the latest fool-flyers in aeroplanes, — in short, no fash- 
ionable jabberer of social inanities could have beaten me 
in what average persons call ' common-sense talk/ — talk 
which resulted after a while in the usual vagueness 
of attention accompanied by smothered yawning. I was 
resolved not to lift the line of thought ' up in the air ' in 
the manner whereof I had often been accused, but to keep 
it level with the ground. So that when we left Tobermory, 
where we had anchored for a couple of days, the limits 
of the yacht were becoming rather cramped and narrow 
for our differing minds, and a monotony was beginning 
to set in that threatened to be dangerous, if not unbear- 
able. As the * Diana ' steamed along through the drowsy 
misty light of the summer afternoon, past the jagged coast 
of the mainland, I sat quite by myself on deck, watching 
the creeping purple haze that partially veiled the mountains 
of Ardnamurchan and Moidart, and I began to wonder 
whether after all it might not be better to write to my 
friend Francesca and tell her that her prophecies had al- 
ready come true, — that I was beginning to be weary of a 
holiday passed in an atmosphere bereft of all joyousness, 
and that she must expect me in Inverness-shire at once. 
And yet I was reluctant to end my trip with the Harlands 
too soon. There was a secret wish in my heart which I 
hardly breathed to myself, — ^a wish that I might again sec 



AN UNEXPECTED MEETING 105 

the strange vessel that had appeared and disappeared so 
suddenly, and make the acquaintance of its owner. It 
would surely be an interesting break in the present condi- 
tion of things, to say the least of it. I did not know then 
(though I know now) why my mind so persistently busied 
itself with the fancied personality of the unknown possessor 
of the mysterious craft which, as Captain Derrick said,' 
* sailed without wind,' but I found myself always thinking 
about him and trying to picture his face and form. 

I took myself sharply to task for what I considered a 
foolish mental attitude, — ^but do what I would, the attitude 
remained unchanged. It was helped, perhaps, in a trifling 
way by the apparently fadeless quality of the pink bell- 
heather which had been given me by the weird-looking 
Highland fellow who called himself Jamie, for though three 
or four days had now passed since I first wore it, it showed 
no signs of withering. As a rule the delicate waxen bells 
of this plant turn yellow a few hours after they are plucked, 
— Imt my little bunch was as brilliantly fresh as ever. I kept 
it in a glass without water on the table in my sitting-room 
and it looked always the same. I was questioning myself 
as to what I should really do if my surroundings remained 
as hopelessly inert and uninteresting as they were at pres- 
ent, — ^go on with the ' Diana ' for a while longer on the 
chance of seeing the strange yacht again— or make up myi 
mind to get put out at some point from which I could reach 
Inverness easily, when Mr. Harland came up suddenly be- 
hind my chair and laid his hand on my shoulder. 

" Are you in dreamland ? " he enquired — and I thought 
his voice sounded rather weak and dispirited — " There's a 
wonderful light on those hills just now." 

I raised my eyes and saw the purple shadows being cloven 
and scattered one after another, by long rays of late sun- 



io6 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

shine that poured like golden wine through the dividing 
wreaths of vapour, — ^above, the sky was pure turquoise liut, 
melting into pale opal and emerald near the line of the grqr 
sea which showed little flecks of white foam under the 
freshening breeze. Bringing my gaze down from the daz- 
zling radiance of the heavens, I turned towards Mr. Har« 
land and was startled and shocked to see the drawn and 
livid pallor of his face and the anguish of his expression. 

" You are ill ! " I exclaimed, and springing up in haste 
I offered him my chair — " Do sit down ! " 

He made a mute gesture of denial, and with slow dif- 
ficulty drew another chair up beside mine, and dropped into 
it with an air of heavy weariness. 

" I am not ill now," — ^he said — '' A little while ago I 
was very ill. I was in pain — horrible pain! Brayle 
did what he could for me — it was not much. He says I 
must expect to suffer now and again — until — ^until the end." 

Impulsively I laid my hand on his. 

" I am very sorry ! " I said, gently — " I wish I could be 
of some use to you ! " 

He looked at me with a curious wist fulness. 

" You could, no doubt, if I believed as you do," — he 
replied, and then was silent for a moment. Presently he 
spoke again. 

" Do you know I am rather disappointed in you ? " 

" Are you? " And I smiled a little—" Why? " 

He did not answer at once. He seemed absorbed in 
troubled musings. When he resumed, it was in a low, medi- 
tative tone, almost as if he were speaking to himself. 

" When I first met you — you remember ? — ^at one of 
those social ' crushes ' which make the London season so 
infinitely tedious, — I was told you were gifted with unusual 
psychic power, and that you had in yourself the secret of 



AN UNEXPECTED MEETING 107 

an abounding exhaustless vitality. I repeat the words — an 
abounding exhaustless vitality. This interested me, because 
I know that our modem men and women are mostly only 
half alive. I heard of you that it did people good to be 
in your company, — ^that your influence upon them was re- 
markable, and that there was some unknown form of occult 
or psychic science to which you had devoted years of study, ' 
with the result that you stood, as it were, apart from the 
world though in the world. This, I say, is what I 
heard '' 

" But you did not believe it," — I interposed. 

" Why do you say that? " he asked, quickly. 

^' Because I know you could not believe it," — I answered 
^-" It would be impossible for you." 

A gleam of satire flashed in his sunken eyes. 

" Well, you are right there ! I did not believe it. But 
I expected " 

" I know ! " And I laughed — '^ You expected what is 
called a ' singular ' woman — one who makes herself ' sin- 
gular,' adopts a * singular * pose, and is altogether removed 
from ordinary humanity. And of course you are disap- 
pointed. I am not at all a tjrpe of the veiled priestess." 

" It is not that," — ^he said, with a little vexation — " When 
I saw you I recognised you to be a very transparent crea- 
ture, devoted to innocent dreams which are not life. But 
that secret which you are reported to possess — ^the secret of 
wonderful abounding exhaustless vitality — ^how does it hap- 
pen that you have it? I myself see that force expressed in 
your very glance and gesture, and what puzzles me is that 
it is not an animal vitality ; it is something else." 

I was silent. 

" You have not a robust physique," — ^he went on — " Y< 
jrou are more full of the spirit of life than men and women 



io8 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

twice as strong as you are. You are a feminine thing, toob 
— and that goes against you. But one can see in you a 
worker — ^you evidently enjoy the exercise of the accomplish- 
ments you possess — and nothing comes amiss to you. I 
wonder how you manage it? When you joined us on this 
trip a few days ago, you brought a kind of atmosphere 
with you that was almost buoyant, and now I am disap- 
pointed, because you seem to have enclosed yourself within 
it, and to have left us out ! " 

" Have you not left yourselves out? " I queried, gently. 
** I, personally, have really nothing to do with it. Just 
remember that when we have talked on any subject above 
the line of the general and commonplace your soje object 
has been to ' draw ' me for the amusement of yourself and 
Dr. Brayle " 

" Ah, you saw that, did you ? " he interrupted, with a 
faint smile. 

" Naturally! Had you believed half you say you were 
^old of me, you would have known I must have seen it 
Can you wonder that I refuse to be ' drawn ' ? " 

He looked at me with an odd expression of mingled sur- 
prise and annoyance, and I met his gaze fully and frankly. 
His eyes shifted uneasily away from mine. 

" One may feel a pardonable curiosity," he said, " And 
a desire to know " 

" To know what ? " I asked, with some warmth — " How 
can you obtain what you are secretly craving for, if you 
persist in denying what is true ? You are afraid of death — 
yet you invite it by ignoring the source of life ! The curtain 
is down, — ^you are outside eternal realities altogether in a 
chaos of your own voluntary creation ! " 

I spoke with some passion, and he heard me patiently. 

" Let us try to understand each other,*' he said, after a 



AN UNEXPECTED MEETING log 

pause — " though it will be difficult. You speak of * eternal 
realities/ To me there are none, save the constant scatter- 
ing and re-uniting of atoms. These, so far as we know of 
the ^ctraordinary (and to me quite unintelligent) plan of 
the Universe, are for ever shifting and changing into vari- 
ous forms and clusters of forms, such as solar systems, 
planets, comets, star-dust and the like. Our present view 
of them is chiefly based on the researches of Larmor and 
Thomson of Cambridge From them and other scientists 
we learn that electricity exists in small particles which we 
can in a manner see in the ' cathode ' rays, — ^and these par- 
ticles are called ' electrons.' These compose ' atoms of mat- 
ter.* Well ! — ^there are a trillion of atoms in each granule 
of dust, — while electrons are so much smaller, that a hun- 
dred thousand of them can lie in the diameter of an atom. 
I know all this, — ^but I do not know why the atoms or 
electrons should exist at all, nor what cause there should 
be for their constant and often violent state of movement. 
They apparently always have been, and always will be, — 
therefore .they are all that can be called ^ eternal realities.' 
Sir Norman Lockyer tells us that the matter of the Uni- 
verse is undergoing a continuous process of evolution — ^but 
even if it is so, what is that to me individually? It neither 
helps nor consoles me for being one infinitesimal spark in 

the general conflagration. Now you believe " 

" In the Force that is behind your system of electrons 
and atoms " — I said — " For by whatever means or sub- 
stances the Universe is composed, a mighty Intelligence 
governs it — ^and I look to the Cause more than the Effect 
For even / am a part of the whole, — I belong to the source 
of the stream as much as to the stream itself. An abstract, 
lifeless principle without will or intention or intelligen 
could not have evolved the splendours of Nature or the 




no THE LIFE EVERLASTING 



intellectual capabilities of man — it could not have given risi 

to what was not in itself/' 

He fixed his eyes steadily upon me. 

'' That last sentence is sound argument/' he said, as 
though reluctantly admitting the obvious, — '^ And I suppose 
I am to presume that * Itself ' is the well-spring from which 
you draw, or imagine you draw, your psychic force ? " 

"HI have any psychic force at all," I responded, — 
*' where do you suppose it should come from but that which 
gives vitality to all animate Nature? I cannot understand 
why you blind yourself to the open and visible fact of a 
Divine Intelligence working in and through all things. If 
you could but acknowledge it and set yourself in tune with 
it you would find life a new and far more dominant joy 
than it is to you now. I firmly believe that your very ill- 
ness has arisen from your determined attitude of unbelief." 

" That's what a Christian Scientist would say," he an^ 
swered, with a touch of scorn, — " I begin to think Dr. 
Brayle is right in his estimate of you." 

I held my peace. 

" Have you no curiosity ? " he demanded — " Don't you 
want to know his opinion ? " 

" No," — ^and I smiled — " My dear Mr. Harland, with all 
your experience of the world, has it never occurred to you 
that there are some people whose opinions don't matter ? *' 
Brayle is a clever man," — ^he said, somewhat testily^ 

And you are merely an imaginative woman." 

" Then why do you trouble about me ? " I asked him, 
quickly — " Why do you want to find out that something in 
me which baffles both Dr. Brayle and yourself? " 

It was now his turn to be silent, and he remained so for 
some time, his eyes fixed on the shadowing heavens. The 
waves were roughening slightly and a swell from the At- 



it 



AN UNEXPECTED MEETING in 

lantic lifted the ' Diana ' curtsying over their foam-flecked 
crests as she ploughed her way swiftly along. Presently 
he turned to me with a smile. 

" Let us strike a truce ! " — ^he said — " I promise not to 
try and ' draw ' you any more ! But please do not isolate 
yourself from us, — ^try to feel that we are your friends. I 
want you to enjoy this trip if possible, — ^but I fear that 
we are proving rather dull company for you. We are mak- 
ing for Skye at good speed and shall probably anchor in 
Loch Scavaig to-night. To-morrow we might land and 
do the excursion to Loch Coruisk if you care for that, 
though Catherine is not a good walker." 

I felt rather remorseful as he said these words in a kindly 
tone. Yet I knew very well that, notwithstanding all the 
litrenuous efforts which might be made by the rules of con- 
ventional courtesy, it would be impossible for me to feel 
quite at home in the surroundings which he had created for 
himself. I inwardly resolved, however, to make the best 
of it and to try and steer clear of any possibilities or inci- 
dents which might tend to draw the line of demarcation 
too strongly between us. Some instinct told me that present 
conditions were not to remain as they were, so I answered 
my host gently and assured him of my entire willingness 
to fall in with any of his plans. Our conversation then 
gradually drifted into ordinary topics till towards sunset, 
when I went down to my cabin to dress for dinner. I had 
a fancy to wear the bunch of pink bell-heather that still 
kept its fresh and waxen-looking delicacy of bloom, and 
this, fastened in the lace of my white gown, was my only 
adornment. 

That night there was a distinct attempt on everybody's 
part to make things sociable and pleasant. Catherine Har-^ 
land was, for once, quite cheerful and chatty, and propo 




112 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

that as there was a lovely moonlight, we should all go after 
dinner into the deck saloon, where there was a piano, and 
that I should sing for them. I was rather surprised at 
this suggestion, as she was not fond of music. Neverthe- 
less, there had been such an evident wish shown by her 
and her father to lighten the monotony which had been 
creeping like a mental fog over us all that I readily agreed 
to anything which might perhaps for the moment give them 
pleasure. 

We went up on deck accordingly, and on arriving there 
were all smitten into awed silence by the wonderful beauty 
of the scene. We were anchored in Loch Scavaig — ^and 
the light of the moon fell with a weird splendour on the 
gloom of the surrounding hills, a pale beam touching the 
simimits here and there and deepening the solemn effect 
of the lake and the magnificent forms of its sentinel moun^ 
tains. A low murmur of hidden streams sounded on the 
deep stillness and enhanced the fascination of the surround- 
ing landscape, which was more like the landscape of a dream 
than a reality. The deep breadths of dense darkness lying 
lost among the cavernous slopes of the hills were broken 
at intervals by strange rifts of light arising as it were from 
the palpitating water, which now and again showed gleams 
of pale emerald and gold phosphorescence, — ^the stars looked 
large and white like straying bits of the moon, and the 
mysterious * swishing ' of slow ripples heaving against the 
sides of the yacht suggested the whisperings of uncanny 
spirits. We stood in a silent group, entranced by the 
grandeur of the night and by our own loneliness in the 
midst of it, for there was no sign of a fisherman's hut 
or boat moored to the shore, or an3^hing which could give 
us a sense of human companionship. A curious feeling of 
disappointment suddenly came over me, — I lifted my eyes 



AN UNEXPECTED MEETING X13 

to the vast dark sky with a kind of mute appeal — and moon 
and stars appeared to float up there like ships in a deep sea, 
— I had expected something more in this strange, almost 
spectral-looking landscape, and yet I knew not why I should 
expect anything. Beautiful as the whole scene was, and 
fully as I recognised its beauty, an overpowering depression 
'suddenly gripped me as with a cold hand, — ^there was a' 
dreary emptiness in this majestic solitude that seemed to 
crush my spirit utterly. 

I moved a little away from my companions, and leaned 
over the deck rail, looking far into the black shadows of 
the shore, defined more deeply by the contrasting brilliance 
of the moon, and my thoughts flew with undesired swift- 
ness to the darkest line of life's horizon — I had for the 
moment lost the sense of joy. How wretched all we human 
creatures are ! — I said to my inner self, — ^what hope after 
all is there for us, imprisoned in a world which has no 
pity for us whatever may be our fate, — a world that goes 
on in precisely the same fashion whether we live or die, 
work or are idle? These tragic hills, this cold lake, this 
white moon, were the same when Caesar lived, and would 
still be the same when we who gazed upon them now were 
all gone into the Unknown. It seemed difficult to try and 
realise this obvious fact — ^so difficult as to be almost unnat- 
ural. Supposing that any towns or villages had ever ex- 
isted on this desolate shore, they had proved useless against 
the devouring forces of Nature, — ^just as the splendid buried 
cities of South America had proved useless in all their mag- 
nificence, — ^useless as the * Golden Age of Lanka ' in Ceylon 
more than two thousand years ago. Of what avail then is 
the struggle of human life? Is it for the many or only^ 
for the few? Is all the toil and sorrow of millions merel3| 
for the uplifting and perfecting of pertain individual type» 



114 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

and is this what Christ meant when He said ' Many aii 
called but few are chosen'? If so, why such waste of 
brain and heart and love and patience? Tears came sud- 
denly into my eyes and I started as from a bad dream when 
Dr. Brayle approached me softly from behind. 

" I am sorry to disturb your reverie ! " — ^he said — " But 
Miss Harland has gone into the deck saloon and we are 
all waiting to hear you sing." 

I looked up at him. 

" I don't feel as if I could sing to-night," — I replied, 
rather tremulously — "This lonely landscape depresses 



me 






He saw that my eyes were wet, and smiled. 

" You are overwrought," he said — " Your own theories 
of health and vitality are not infallible ! You must be taken 
care of. You think too much." 
Or too little ? " I suggested. 

Really, my dear lady, you cannot possibly think too 
little where health and happiness are concerned ! The sanest 
and most comfortable people on earth are those who eat 
well and never think at all. An empty brain and a full 
stomach make the sum total of a contented life." 

" So you imagine ! " I said, with a slight gesture of veiled 
contempt. 

" So I knozv! " he answered, with emphasis — " And I 
have had a wide experience. Now don't look daggers at 
me ! — come and sing ! " 

He offered me his arm, but I put it aside and walked 
by myself towards the deck saloon. Mr. Harland and 
Catherine were seated there, with all the lights turned full 
on, so that the radiance of the moon through the window 
was completely eclipsed. The piano was open. As I came 
in Catherine looked at me with a surprised air. 



AN UNEXPECTED MEETING 115 






** Why, how pale you are ! " she exclaimed — " One would 
think you had seen a ghost ! " 

I laughed. 

" Perhaps I have ! Loch Scavaig is sufficient setting for 
any amount of ghosts. It's such a lonely place," — ^and a 
slight tremor ran through me as I played a few soft chords 
What shall I sing to you?" 

Something of the country we are in," — said Mr. Har- 
land — " Don't you know any of those old wild Gaelic airs ? " 

I thought a moment, and then to a low rippling accom- 
paniment I sang the old Celtic ' Fairy's Love Song ' — 



"Why should I sit and sigh, 

' Pu'in' bracken, pu'in' bracken. 
Why should I sit and sigh, 

On the hill-side dreary — 
When I see the plover rising. 
Or the curiew wheeling. 
Then I know my mortal lover 
Back to me is stealing. 

• When the day wears away 

Sad I look adown the valley, 
Every sound heard around 

Sets my heart a-thrilling, — 
Why should I sit and sigh, 

Pu'in' bracken, pu'in' bracken. 
Why should I sit and sigh 

All alone and weary! 

Ah, but there is something wanting. 

Oh but I am weary! 
G)me, my true and tender lover, 

O'er the hills to cheer me ! 
Why should I sit and sigh, 

Pu'in* bracken, pu'in' brackeil» 
Why should I sit and sigh. 

All alone and weary ! " 



Ii6 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

I had scarcely finished the last verse when Captain Der* 
rick suddenly appeared at the door of the saloon in a great 
state of excitement. 

" Come out, Mr. Harland ! " he almost shouted — " Come 
quickly, all of you ! There's that strange yacht again ! *' 

I rose from my seat at the piano trembling a little — at 
last I — I thought — ^at last ! My heart was beating tumultu- 
ously, though I could not explain my own emotion to my- 
self. In another moment we were all standing speechless 
and amazed, gazing at surely the most wonderful sight 
that had ever been seen by human eyes. There on the 
dark and lonely waters of Loch Scavaig was poised, rather 
than anchored, the fairy vessel of my dreams, with all sails 
spread, — sails that were white as milk and seemingly 
drenched with a sparkling dewy radiance, for they scintil- 
lated like hoar-frost in the sun and glittered against the 
sombre background of the mountainous shore with an al- 
most blinding splendour. Our whole crew of sailors and 
servants on the ' Diana ' came together in astonished 
groups, whispering among themselves, all evidently more 
or less scared by the strange spectacle. Captain Derrick 
waited for someone to hazard a remark, then, as we re- 
mained silent, he addressed Mr. Harland — 

" Well, sir, what do you make of it ? " 

Mr. Harland did not answer. For a man who professed! 
indifference to all events and circumstances he seemed 
startled for once and a little afraid. Catherine caught me 
by the arm, — she was shivering nervously. 

" Do you think it is a real yacht ? " she whispered 

I was amused at this question, coming as it did from 2 
woman who denied the supernatural. 

" Of course it is ! " I answered — " Don't you see people 
moving about on board ? " 



AN UNEXPECTED MEETING X17 

For, in the brilliant light shed by those extraordinary 
sails, the schooner appeared to be fully manned. Several 
of the crew were busy on her deck and there was nothing 
of the phantom in their movements. 

" Her sails must surely be lit up in that way by elec- 
tricity " — said Dr. Brayle, who had been watching her at- 
tentively — " But how it is done and why, is rather puzzling I 
I never saw anything quite to resemble it." 

" She came into the loch like a flash," — said Captain 
Derrick — " I saw her slide, in round the point, and then 
without a sound of any kind, there she was, safe anchored 
before you could whistle. She behaved in just the same 
W2^y when we first sighted her off Mull." 

I listened to what they were saying, impatiently wonder- 
ing what would be the end of their surmises and specu- 
lations. 

Why not exchange courtesies ? " I said, suddenly, — 
Here we are — ^two yachts anchored near each other in a 
lonely lake, — ^why should we not know each other? Then 
all the mysteries you are talking about would be cleared 
up. 

" Quite true ! " said Mr. Harland, breaking his silence 
at last — ^" But isn't it rather late to pay a call ? What time 
is it?" 

" About half-past ten," — ^answered Dr. Brayle, glancing 
at his watch. 

*' Oh, let us get to bed ! " murmured Miss Catherine, 
pleadingly — "What's the good of making any enquiries 
to-night?" 

" Well, if you don't make them to-night ten to one you 
won't have the chance to-morrow ! " — said Captain Der- 
rick, bluntly — "That yacht will repeat her former ma- 
noeuvres and vanish at sunrise." 






Ii8 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

" As all spectres are traditionally supposed to do I " said 
Dr. Brayle, lighting a cigarette as he spoke and beginning 
to smoke it with a careless air — ^" I vote for catching the 
ghost before it melts away into the morning." 

While this talk went on Mr. Harland stepped badk into 
the saloon and wrote a note which he enclosed in a sealed 
envelope. With this in his hand he came out to us 
again. 

"Captain, will you get the boat lowered, please?" he 
said — then, as Captain Derrick hastened to obey this order, 
he turned to his secretary : — " Mr. Swinton, I want you to 
take this note to the owner of that yacht, whoever he may 
be, with my compliments. Don't give it to anyone dse 
but himself." 

Mr. Swinton, looking very pale and uncomfortable, took 
the note gingerly between his fingers. 

" Himself — ^yes ! " — ^he stammered — " And — er — if there 
should be no one " 

" What do you mean ? " and Mr. Harland frowned in 
his own particularly unpleasant way — *' There's sure to be 
someone, even if he were the devil! You can say to Urn 
that the ladies of our party are very much interested in 
the beautiful illumination of his yacht, and that we'll be 
glad to see him on board ours, if he cares to come. Be 
as polite as you can, and as agreeable as you like." 

" It has not occurred to you — I suppose you have not 
thought — ^that — that it may be an illusion?" faltered Mr. 
Swinton, uneasily, glancing at the glistening sails that 
shamed the silver sheen of the moon — " A sort of miragi 
in the atmosphere " 

Mr. Harland gave vent to a laugh — ^the heartiest I had 
ever heard from him. 

" Upon my word, Swinton ! " he exclaimed — '* I should 



AN UNEXPECTED MEETING 119 

never have thought you capable of nerves! Come, cornel 
•—be off with you ! The boat is lowered — mail's ready ! " 

Thus commanded, there was nothing for the reluctant 
Mr. Swinton but to obey, and I could not help smiling at 
his evident discomfiture. All his precise and matter-of-fact 
Bclf-satisf action was gone in a moment, — he was nothing 
but a very timorous creature, afraid to examine into what 
he could not at once understand. No such terrors, how- 
ever, were displayed by the sailors who undertook to row 
him over to the yacht. They, as well as their captain, were 
anxious to discover the mystery, if mystery there was, — 
and we all, by one instinct, pressed to the gangway as he 
descended the companion ladder and entered the boat, which 
glided away immediately with a low and rhythmical plash 
of oars. We could watch it as it drew nearer and nearer 
the illuminated vessel, and our excitement grew more and 
more intense. For once Mr. Harland and his daughter 
had forgotten all about themselves, — ^and Catherine's cus- 
tomary miserable expression of face had altogether disap- 
peared in the keenness of her interest for something more 
immediately thrilling than her own ailments. So far as 
I was concerned, I could hardly endure the suspense that 
seemed to weigh on every nerve of my body during the few 
minutes' interval that elapsed between the departure of the 
boat and its drawing up alongside the strange yacht. My 
thoughts were all in a whirl, — I felt as if something unpre- 
cedented and almost terrifying was about to happen, — but 
I could not reason out the cause of my mental agitation. 

" There they go ! " said Mr. Harland—" They're along- 
side ! See ! — ^those fellows are lowering the companion lad- 
der — ^there's nothing supernatural about them! Swinton 
all right — ^look, he's on board ! " 

We strained our eyes through the brilliant flare shed 




i20 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

the illuminated sails on the darkness and could see Mr. 
Swinton talking to a group of sailors. One of them went 
away, but returned almost immediately, followed by a man 
clad in white yachting flannels, who, standing near one of 
the shining sails, caught some of the light on his own figure 
with undeniably becoming effect. I was the first to perceive 
him, and as I looked, the impression came upon me that 
he was no stranger, — I had seen him often before. This 
sudden consciousness swiftly borne in upon me calmed all 
the previous tumult of my mind and I was no longer anx- 
ious as to the result of our possible acquaintance. Cath- 
erine Harland pressed my arm excitedly. 

" There he is ! " she said — " That must be the owner of 
the yacht. He's reading father's letter." 

He was, — we could see the little sheet of paper turning 
over in his hands. And while we waited, wondering what 
would be his answer, the light on the sails of his vessel 
began to pale and die away, — ^beam after beam of radiance 
slipped off as it were like drops c^ water, and before wd 
could quite realise it there was darkness where all had lately 
been so bright ; and the canvas was hauled down. With the 
quenching of that intense brilliancy we lost sight of the 
human figures on deck and could not imagine what was to 
happen next. The dark shore looked darker than ever,— 
the outline of the yacht was now truly spectral, like a ship 
of black cobweb against the moon, and we looked question- 
ingly at each other in silence. Then Mr. Harland spoke in 
a low tone. 

" The boat is coming back," — ^he said, — ^' I hear the 
oars." 

I leaned over the side of our vessel and tried to see 
through the gloom. How still the water was ! — ^not a ripple ' 
disturbed its surface. But there were strange gleams of 



AN UNEXPECTED MEETING I2r 

wandering light in its depths like dropped jewels lost on 
sands far below. The regular dip of oars sounded nearer 
and nearer. My heart was beating with painful quickness, 
— ^I could not understand the strange feeling that overpow- 
ered me. I felt as if my very soul were going out of my 
body to meet that oncoming boat which was cleaving its 
way through the darkness. Another brief interval and then 
we saw it shoot out into a patch of moonlight — ^we could 
perceive Mr. Swinton seated in the stem with another 
figure beside him — ^that of a man who stood up as he neared 
our yacht and lifted his cap with an easy gesture of saluta- 
tion, and then as the boat came alongside, caught at the 
guide rope and sprang lightly on the first step of the com- 
panion ladder. 

" Why, he's actually come over to us himself ! " ejaculated 
Mr. Harland, — ^and he hurried to the gangway just in time 
to receive the visitor as he stepped on deck. 

" Well, Harland, how are you ? " said a mellow voice 
in the cheeriest of accents — " It's strange we should meet 
like this after so many years I " 



VI 



RECOGNITION 

At these words and at sight of the speaker, Morton 
Harland started back as if he had been shot. 

" Santoris ! " he exclaimed — '' Not possible ! Raf d San- 
toris ! No ! You must be his son 1 " 

The stranger laughed. 

" My good Harland ! Always the sceptic ! Miracles arc 
many, but there is one which is beyond all performance. 
A man cannot be his own offspring! I am that very San- 
toris who saw you last in Oxford. Come, come! — you 
ought to know me ! " 

He stepped more fully into the light whidi was shed 
from the open door of the deck saloon, and showed himself 
to be a man of distinguished appearance, apparently about 
forty years of age. He was well built, with the straig^ 
back and broad shoulders of an athlete, — ^his face was 
finely featured and radiant with the glow of health and 
strength, and as he smiled and laid one hand on Mr. Har- 
land's shoulder he looked the very embodiment of active, 
powerful manhood. Morton Harland stared at him in 
amazement and something of terror. 

" Raf el Santoris ! " he repeated — " You are his living 
image, — ^but you cannot be himself — ^you are too young!" 

A gleam of amusement sparkled in the stranger's eyes. 

" Don't let us talk of age or youth for the moment "— 
he said. " Here I am, — ^you^ ' eccentric ' college acquaint* 



RECOGNITION 123 

ance whom you and several other fellows fought shy of 
years ago! I assure you I am quite harmless! Will you 
present me to the ladies ? '* 

There was a brief embarrassed pause.^ Then Mr. Har- 
land turned to us where we had withdrawn ourselves a little 
apart and addressed his daughter. 

" Catherine," — ^he said — ^* This gentleman tells me he 
knew me at Oxford, and if he is rig^t I also knew him. 
I spoke of him only the other night at dinner — ^you remem- 
ber ? — ^but I did not tell you his name. It is Raf el Santoris 
^-if indeed he is Santoris! — ^though my Santoris should 
be a much older man." 

" I extremely regret," said our visitor then, advancing 
and bowing courteously to Catherine and myself — ^" that I 
do not fulfil the required conditions of age ! Will you try 
to forgive me ? " 

He smiled — ^and we were a little confused, hardly know- 
ing what to say. Involuntarily I raised my eyes to his, and 
with one glance saw in those clear blue orbs that so stead- 
fastly met mine a v/orld of memories — ^memories tender, 
wistful and pathetic, entangled as in tears i.nd fire. All the 
inward instincts of my spirit told me that I knew him well 
<^^-as well as one knows the gold of the sunshine or the 
colour of the sky, — ^yet where had I seen him often and 
often before? While my thoughts puzzled over this ques- 
tion he averted his gaze from mine and went on speaking 
to Catherine. 

" I understand," he said — " that you are interested in the 
lighting of my yacht? " 

" It is most beautiful and wonderful," — answered Cath- 
erine, in her coldest tone of conventional politeness, " And 
so unusual ! " 

His eyebrows went up with a slightly quizzical ^} 



124 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

" Yes^ I suppose it is tinusual/' he said — *' I am alwayri 
forgetting that what is not quite common seems strange 1 
But really the arrangement is very simple. The yacht is 
called the 'Dream' — and she is» as her name implies, a 
' dream ' fulfilled. Her sails are her only motive power. 
They are charged with electricity, and that is why thqf 
shine at night in a way that must seem to outsiders like 
a special illumination. If you will honour me with a visit 
to-morrow I will show you how it is managed.'' 

Here Captain Derrick, who had been standing dose by, 
was unable to resist the impulse of his curiosity. 

" Excuse me, sir," — he said, suddenly — " but may I ask 
how it is you sail without wind ? " 

" Certainly ! — ^you may ask and be answered ! " Santoris 
replied. " As I have just said, our sails are our only motive 
power, but we do not need the wind to fill them. By a 
very simple scientific method, or rather let me say by a 
scientific application of natural means, we generate a form 
of electric force from the air and water as we move. This 
force fills the sails and propels the vessel with amazing 
swiftness wherever she is steered. Neither calm nor storm 
affects her progress. When there is a good gale blowing 
our way, we naturally lessen the draft on our own supplies 
— ^but we can make excellent speed even in the teeth 
of a contrary wind. We escape all the inconveniences 
of steam and smoke and dirt and noise, — and I daresay 
in about a couple of hundred years or so my method 
of sailing the seas will be applied to all ships large and 
small, with much wonder that it was not thought of long 
ago. 

" Why not apply it yourself ? " asked Dr. Brayle, now 
joining in the conversation for the first time and putting the 
question with an air of incredulous amusement — "With 



RECOGNITION 125 

each a marvdlous discovery — ^if it is yours — ^you should 
make your f orttme I " 

Santoris glanced him over with polite tolerance. 

" It is possible I do not need to make it," — ^he answered, 
then turning again to Captain Derrick he said, kindly, '' I 
hope the matter seems clearer to you? We sail without 
wind, it is true, but not without the power that creates 
wind." 

The captain shook his head perplexedly. 

" Well, sir, I can't quite take it in," — ^he confessed — '' I'd 
like to know more." 

" So you shall f Harland, will you all come over to the 
yacht to-morrow? There may be some excursion we could 
do together — and you might remain and dine with me after- 
wards." 

Mr. Harland's face was a study. Doubt and fear strug- 
gled for the mastery in his expression and he did not at 
once answer. Then he seemed to conquer his hesitation and 
to recover himself. 

" Give me a moment with you alone," — ^he said, with r 
gesture of invitation towards the deck saloon. 

Our visitor readily complied with this suggestion, and 
the two men entered the saloon together and closed the 
door. 

Silence followed. Catherine looked at me in questioning 
bewilderment, — ^then she called to Mr. Swinton, who had 
been standing about as though awaiting orders in his usual 
tiresome and servile way. 

" What sort of an interview did you have with that gen- 
tleman when you got on board his yacht? " she asked. 
Very pleasant — very pleasant indeed " — he replied— 

The vessel is magnificently appointed. I have never seen 
such luxury. Extraordinary ! More than princely ! Mr. 






126 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

Santoris himself I fotind partictilarly agreeable. When he 
had read Mr. Harland's note, he said he was glad to find 
it was from an old college companion, and that he would 
come over with me to renew the acquaintance. As he has 
done." 

" You were not afraid of him, then ? " queried Dr. 
Brayle, sarcastically. 

" Oh dear no ! He seems quite well-bred, and I should 
say he must be very wealthy." 

" A most powerful recommendation ! " murmured Brayle 
— " The best in the world ! What do you think of Wm? '* 
he asked, turning suddenly to me. 

" I have no opinion," — I answered, quietly. 

How could I say otherwise ? How could I tell such a man 
as he was, of one who had entered my life as insistently 
as a flash of light, illumining all that had hitherto been 
dark! 

At that moment Catherine caught my hand. 

" Listen ! " she whispered. 

A window of the deck saloon was open and we stood 
near it. Dr. Brayle and Mr. Swinton had moved away to 
light fresh cigars, and we two women were for the moment 
alone. We heard Mr. Harland's voice raised to a sort of 
smothered cry. 

" My God ! You are Santoris ! " 

" Of course I am ! " And the deep answering tones were 
full of music, — ^the music of a grave and infinitely tender 
compassion — " Why did you doubt it ? And why call upon 
God ? That is a name which has no meaning for you." 

There followed a silence. I looked at Catherine and 
saw her pale face in the light of the moon, haggard in 
line and older than her years, and my heart was full of 
pity for her. She was excited beyond her usual self— 



RECOGNITION xjy 

I could see that the appearance of the stranger from the 
yacht had aroused her interest and compelled her admira- 
tion. I tried to draw her gently to a farther distance from 
the saloon, but she would not move. 

"We ought not to listen," — I said — "Catherine, come 
^way ! " 

She shook her head. 

" Hush ! " she softly breathed—" I want to hear ! " 

Just then Mr. Harland spoke again. 

" I am sorry ! " he said — " I have wronged you and I 
apologise. But you can hardly wonder at my disbelief, 
considering your appearance, which is that of a much 
younger man than your actual years should make you." 

The rich voice of Santoris gave answer. 

" Did I not tell you and others long ago that for me there 
is no such thing as time, but only eternity? The soul is 
always young, — ^and I live in the Spirit of youth, not in 
the Matter of age." 

Catherine turned her eyes upon me in wide-open amaze* 
ment. 

" He must be mad ! " she said. 

I made no reply either by word or look. We heard Mr. 
Harland talking, but in a lower tone, and we could not dis- 
tinguish what he said. Presently Santoris answered, and 
his vibrant tones were clear and distinct. 

" Why should it seem to you so wonderful ? " he said— 
** You do not think it miraculous when the sculptor, stand- 
ing before a shapeless block of marble, hews it out to con- 
formity with his inward thought. The marble is mere 
marble, hard to deal with, difficult to shape, — yet out of its 
resisting roughness the thinker and worker can mould an 
Apollo or a Psyche. You find nothing marvellous in this, 
though the result of its shaping is due to nothing but 



128 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

Thought and Labour. Yet when you see the human txxlyi 
which is far easier to shape than marble, brought into sub- 
mission by the same forces of Thought and Labour, you 
are astonished! Surely it is a simpler matter to control 
the living cells of one's own fleshly organisation and compel 
them to do the bidding of the dominating spirit than to 
chisel the semblance of a god out of a block of stone!" 

There was a pause after this. Then followed more in- 
audible talk on the part of Mr. Harland, and while we yet 
waited to gather further fragments of the conversation, be 
suddenly threw open the saloon door and called to us to 
come in. We at once obeyed the summons, and as we en- 
tered he said in a somewhat excited, nervous way: — 

" I must apologise before you ladies for the rather doubt- 
ing manner in which I received my former college friend 1 
He is Rafel Santoris — I ought to have known that there's 
only one of his type! But the curious part of it is that 
he should be nearly ajs old as I am, — ^yet somehow he is 
not!" 

I laughed. It would have been hard not to laugh, for 
the mere idea of comparing the twt> men, Santoris in such 
splendid prime and Morton Harland in his bent, lean and 
wizened condition, as being of the same or nearly the same 
age was quite ludicrous. Even Catherine smiled — sl weak 
and timorous smile. 

" I suppose you have grown old more quickly, father," 
she said — " Perhaps Mr. Santoris has not lived at such high 
pressure." 

Santoris, standing by the saloon centre table under the 
full blaze of the electric lamp, looked at her with a kindly 
interest. 

" High or low, I live each moment of my days to the 
full, Miss Harland/' — he said — '* I do not drowse it or kill 



RECOGNITION 129 

it — ^I live it ! This lady," — ^and he turned his eyes towards 
me — ** looks as if she did the same ! " 

" She does ! " said Mr. Harland, quickly, and with em- 
phasis — " That's quite true ! You were always a good 
reader of character, Santoris! I believe I have not intro- 
duced you properly to our little friend " — here he presented 
me by name and I held out my hand. Santoris took it in 
his own with a light, warm clasp — ^gently releasing it again 
as he bowed. " I call her our little friend, because she 
brings such an atmosphere of joy along with her wherever 
she goes. We persuaded her to come with us yachting 
this summer for a very selfish reason — ^because we are dis- 
posed to be dull and sha is always bright, — ^the advantage, 
jotL see, is all on our side ! Oddly enough, I was talking 
to her about you the other night — the very night, by the 
by, that your yacht came behind us off Mull. That was 
father a curious coincidence when you come to think of it ! " 

*' Not curious at all," — said Santoris — " but perfectly 
natural. When will you realise that there is no such thing 
as ' coincidence ' but only a very exact system of mathe- 
matics ? " 

Mr. Harland gave a slight, incredulous gesture. 

" Your theories again," he said — " You hold to them 
still ! But our little friend is likely to agree with you, — 
when I was speaking of you to her I told her she had some- 
what the same ideas as yourself. She is a sort of a ' psy- 
chist ' — whatever that may mean ! " 

" Do you not know ? " queried Santoris, with a grave 
smile — " It is easy to guess by merely looking at her ! " 

My cheeks grew warm and my eyes fell beneath his stead- 
fast gaze. I wondered whether Mr. Harland or Catherine 
would notice that in his coat he wore a small bunch of the 
same kind of bright pink bell-heather which was my only 



I30 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

' jewel of adorning ' that night. The ice of introdtictof]! 
recognition being broken, we gathered round the saloon 
table and sat down, while the steward brought wine and 
other refreshments to offer to our guest. Mr. Harland's 
former uneasiness and embarrassment seemed now at an 
end, and he gave himself up to the pleasure of renewing 
association with one who had known him as a young man, 
and they began talking easily together of their days at 
college, of the men they had both been acquainted with, 
some of whom were dead, some settled abroad and some 
lost to sight in the vistas of uncertain fate. Catherine took 
very little part in the conversation, but she listened intently 
— ^her colourless eyes were for once bright, and she watched 
the face of Santoris as one might watch an animated pic- 
ture. Presently Dr. Brayle and Mr. Swinton, who had been 
pacing the deck together and smoking, paused near the sa* 
loon door. Mr. Harland beckoned them. 

" Come in, come in ! " he said — *^ Santoris, this is my 
physician, Dr. Brayle, who has undertaken to look after 
me during this trip," — Santoris bowed — ** And this is my 
secretary, Mr. Swinton, whom I sent over to your yacht 
just now." Again Santoris bowed. His slight, yet per- 
fectly courteous salutation, was in marked contrast with 
the careless modern nod or jerk of the head by which the 
other men barely acknowledged their introduction to him. 
*' He was afraid of his life to go to you " — continued Mr. 
Harland, with a laugh — " He thought you might be an il- 
lusion — or even the devil himself, with those fiery sails!" 
Mr. Swinton looked sheepish ; Santoris smiled. " This fair 
dreamer of dreams " — ^here he singled me out for notice— 
" is the only one of us who has not expressed either sur 
prise or fear at the sight of your vessel or the possible 
knowledge of yourself, though there was one little incident 



RECOGNITION 131 

connected with the pretty bunch of bell-heather she is wear- 
ing — ^why ! — ^you wear the same flower yourself ! " 

There was a moment's silence. Everyone stared. The 
blood burned in my veins, — ^I felt my face crimsoning, yet 
I knew not why I should be embarrassed or at a loss for 
words. Santoris came to my relief. 

** There's nothing remarkable in that, is there?" he 
queried, lightly — " Bell-heather is quite common in this part 
of the world. I shouldn't like to try and count up the num- 
ber of tourists I've lately seen wearing it ! " 

"Ah, but you don't know the interest attaching to this 
particular specimen ! " persisted Mr. Harland — " It was 
-given to our little friend by a wild Highland fellow, pre- 
sumably a native of Mull, the very morning after she had 
seen your yacht for the first time, and he told her that on 
the previous night he had brought all of the same kind he 
could gather to you! Surely you see the connection ? " 

Santoris shook his head. 

"I'm afraid I don't!" he said, smilingly. "Did the 
' wild Highland fellow ' name me ? " 

" No— I believe he called you * the shentleman that owns 
the yacht.' " 

" Oh well ! " and Santoris laughed — " There are so many 
' shentlemen ' that own yachts ! He may have got mixed 
in his customers. In any case, I am glad to have some 
little thing in common with your friend — if only a bunch 
of heather ! " 

" Her bunch behaves very curiously," — ^put in Catherine 
^— " It never fades." 

Santoris made no comment. It seemed as if he had not 
heard, or did not wish to hear. He changed the conversa- 
tion, much to my comfort, and for the rest of the time \ 
he stayed with us, rather avoided speaking to me, though 



132 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

once or twice I met his eyes fixed earnestly upon me. The 
talk drifted in a desultory manner round various ordinary 
topics, and I, moving a little aside, took a seat near the 
window where I could watch the moon-rays striking a sted- 
like glitter on the still waters of Loch Scavaig, and at the 
same time hear all that was being said without taking any 
part in it. I did not wish to speak, — ^the uplifted joy of 
my soul was too intense for anything but silence. I could 
not tell why I was so happy, — I only knew by inward 
instinct that some point in my life had been reached towards 
which I had striven for a far longer period than I myself 
was aware of. There was nothing for me now but to wait 
with faith and patience for the next step forward — a stqp 
which I felt would not be taken alone. And I listened Mrith 
interest while Mr. Harland put his former college friend 
through a kind of inquisitorial examination as to what he 
had been doing and where he had been journeying since 
they last met. Santoris seemed not at all unwilling to be 
catechised. 

" When I escaped from Oxford," — ^he said — ^but here 
Mr. Harland interposed. 

" Escaped ! " he exclaimed — " You talk as if you had 
been kept in prison." 

" So I was " — Santoris replied — " Oxford is a prison 
to all who want to feed on something more than the dry 
bones of learning. While there I was like the prodigal 
son, — exiled from my Father's House. And I ' did eat 
the husks that the swine did eat.' Many fellows have to 
do the same. Sometimes — ^though not often — sl man ar- 
rives with a constitution unsuited to husks. Mine was— 
and is — ^such an one." 

" You secured honours with the husks," said Mr. Har- 
land. 



RECOGNITION 133 

Santoris gave a gesture of airy contempt. 

" Honours ! Such honours ! Any fellow unaddicted to 
drinking, with a fair amount of determined plod could win 
them. The alleged ' difficulties ' in the way are perfectly 
childish. They scarcely deserve to be called the pothooks 
and hangers of an education. I always got my work done 
in two or three hours — the rest of my time at college 
was pure leisure, — ^which I employed in other and wiser 
forms of study than those of the general curriculum — as 
you know." 

" You mean occult mysteries and things of that sort ? " 

" * Occult ' is a word of such new coinage that it is not 
found in many dictionaries," — ^said Santoris, with a mirth- 
ful look — '* You will not find it, for instance, in the earlier 
editions of Stormonth's reliable compendium. I do not care 
for it myself; I prefer to say ' Spiritual science.' " 

" You believe in that ? " asked Catherine, abruptly. 

" Assuredly ! How can I do otherwise, seeing that it is 
the Key to the Soul of Nature ? " 

"That's too deep for me!" said Dr. Brayle, pouring 
himself out a glass of whisky and mixing it with soda- 
water — " If it's a riddle I give it up ! " 

Santoris was silent. There was a moment's pause. Then 
Catherine leaned forward across the table, looking at him 
with tired, questioning eyes. i 

Could you not explain ? " she murmured. 
Easily ! " he answered — " Anyone can understand it 
with a little attention. What I mean is this, — ^you know 
that the human body outwardly expresses its inward condi- 
tion of health, mentality and spirituality— well, in exactly 
the same way Nature, in her countless varying presentations 
of beauty and wisdom, expresses the Soul of herself, or 1 
the spiritual force which supports her existence. ' Spiritual 






134 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

science ' is the knowledge, not of the outward effect so 
much as of the inward cause which makes the effect mani* 
fest. It is acknowledge which can be applied to the indi* 
vidual daily uses of life, — ^the more it is studied, the more 
reward it bestows, and the smallest portion of it thoroughlj 
mastered, is bound to lead to some discovery, simple or 
complex, which lifts the immortal part of a man a st^ 
higher on the way it should go." 

"You are satisfied with your researches, then?" asked 
Mr. Harland. 

Santoris smiled gravely. 

" Do I look like a man that has failed ? " he answered. 

Mr. Harland studied his handsome face and figure with 
ill-concealed envy. 

" You went abroad from Oxford ? " he queried. 

" Yes. I went back to the old home in Eg3rpt — the house 
where I was bom and bred. It had been well kept and 
cared for by the faithful servant to whom my father had 
entrusted it — as well kept as a Royal Chamber in the Pyra- 
mids with the funeral offerings untouched and a perpetual 
lamp burning. It was the best of all possible places in 
which to continue my particular line of work without inter- 
ruption — and I have stayed there most of the time, only 
coming away, as now, when necessary for a change and a 
look at the world as the world lives in these days.'* 

"And" — ^here Mr. Harland hesitated, then went on— 
"* Are you married ? " 

Santoris lifted his eyes and regarded his former college 
acquaintance fixedly. 

" That question is unnecessary " — ^he said — " You know 
I am not." 

There was a brief awkward pause. Dr. Brayle looked 
up with a satirical smile. 



RECOGNITION 135 

^ Spiritual science has probably taught you to beware of 
the fair sex " — ^he said. 

** I do not entirely understand you '* — answered San- 
toriSy coldly — " But if you mean that I am not a lover of 
women in the pltual you are right." 

" Perhaps of the one woman — ^the one rare pearl in the 
deep sea" — ^hinted Dr. Brayle, unabashed. 

" Come, you arc getting too personal, Brayle," inter- 
rupted Mr. Harland, quickly, and with asperity — " Santoris, 
your health ! " 

He raised a glass of wine to his lips — Santoris did the 
same — and this simple courtesy between the two principals 
in the conversation had the eflfect of putting their subordi- 
nate in his proper place. 

" It seems superfluous to wish health to Mr. Santoris," 
said Catherine then — '* He evidently has it in perfection." 

Santoris looked at her with kindly interest. 

" Health is a law. Miss Harland " — he said — " It is our 
own fault if we trespass against it." 

"Ah, you say that because you are well and strong," she 
answered, in a plaintive tone — " But if you were afflicted 
and suffering you would take a different view of illness." 

He smiled, somewhat compassionately. 

" I think not," — ^he said — " If I were afflicted and suf- 
fering, as you say, I should know that by my own neglect, 
thoughtlessness, carelessness or selfishness I had injured 
my organisation mentally and physically, and that, there- 
fore, the penalty demanded was just and reasonable." 

" Surely you do not maintain that a man is responsible 
for his own ailments?" said Mr. Harland — "That would 
be too far-fetched, even for you! Why, as a matter of j 
fact a wretched human being is not only cursed with his r 
owtl poisoned blood but with the poisoned blood of his fore- ^ 



136 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

fathers, and, according to the latest medical science, the 
very air and water swarm with germs of death for the 
unsuspecting victim." 

" Or germs of life! " said Santoris, quietly — ^* According 
to my knowledge or ' theory/ as you prefer to call it, there 
are no germs of actual death. There are germs whidi 
disintegrate effete forms of matter merely to allow the 
forces of life to rebuild them again — and these may propa- 
gate in the human system if it so happens that the humaa 
system is prepared to receive them. Their devastating 
process is called disease, but they never begin their work 
till the being they attack has either wasted a vital oppor- 
ttmity or neglected a vital necessity. Far more numerous 
are the beneficial germs of revivifying and creative power 
— and if these find place, they are bound to conquer those 
whose agency is destructive. It all depends on the soil 
and pasture you offer them. Evil thoughts make evil Mood, 
and in evil blood disease germinates and flourishes. Pure 
thoughts make pure blood and rebuild the cells of health 
and vitality. I grant you there is such a thing as inherited 
disease, but this could be prevented in a great measure by 
making the marriage of diseased persons a criminal of* 
fence, — while much of it could be driven out by proper care 
in childhood. Unfortunately, the proper care is seldom 
given." 

"What would you call proper care?" asked Cath- 
erine. 

" Entire absence of self-indulgence, to begin with," — 
he answered — " No child should be permitted to have its 
own way or expect to have it. The first great lesson of 
life should be renunciation of self." 

A faint colour crept into Catherine's faded cheeks. Mr. 
Harland fidgeted in his chair. 



RECOGNITION 137 

** Unless a man looks after himself, no one else will look 
after him " — he said. 

** Reasonable care of one's self is unselfishness/' replied 
Santoris — ^'^But anything in excess of reasonable care is 
pure vice. A man should work for his livelihood chiefly 
in order not to become a burden on others. In the same 
way he should take care of his health so that he may avoid 
being a troublesome invalid, dependent on others' compas- 
sion. To be ill is to acknowledge neglect of existing laws 
and incapacity of resistance to evil." 

" You lay down a very hard and fast rule, Mr. Santoris " 
— said Dr. Brayle — " Many unfortunate people are ill 
through no fault of their own." 

" Pardon me for my dogmatism when I say such a thing 
is impossible " — ^answered Santoris — ** If a human being 
starts his life in health he cannot be ill unless through 
some fault of his own. It may be a moral or a physical 
fault, but the trespass against the law has been made. And 
suppose him to be born with some inherited trouble, he 
can eliminate even that from his blood if he so determines. 
Man was not meant to be sickly, but strong — ^he is not 
intended to dwell on this earth as a servant but as a master, 
— and all the elements of strength and individual sov- 
ereignty are contained in Nature for his use and advantage 
if he will but accept them as frankly as they are offered 
ungrudgingly. I cannot grant you" — and he smiled — 
" even the smallest amount of voluntary or intended mis- 
chief in the Divine plan ! " 

At that moment Captain Derrick looked in at the saloon 
door to remind us that the boat was still waiting to take 
our visitor back to his own yacht. He rose at once, with 
a briefly courteous apology for having stayed so long, and 
we all went with him to see him off. It was arranged that 



138 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

we were to join him on board his vessel next day, airi 
either take a sail with him along the island coast or else 
do the excursion on foot to Loch Coniisk, which was a 
point not to be missed. As we walked all together along 
the moonlit deck a chance moment placed him by my side 
.while the others were moving on ahead. I felt rather 
[than saw his eyes upon me, and looked up swiftly in obe- 
dience to his compelling glance. There was a light of 
eloquent meaning in the expression of his face, but he 
spoke in perfectly conventional tones : — 

" I am glad to have met you at last/' — ^he said, quietly — 
^I have known you by name — ^and in the spirit — a long 
time." 

I did not answer. My heart was beating rapidly irith 
an excitation of nameless joy and fear commingled. 

" To-morrow " — ^he went on — '* we shall be able to talk 
together, I hope, — I feel that there are many things in 
which we are mutually interested." 

Still I could not speak. 

" Sometimes it happens " — ^he continued, in a voice that 
trembled a little — " that two people who are not immediately 
conscious of having met before, feel on first introduction 
to each other as if they were quite old friends. Is it not 
so?" 

I murmured a scarcely audible assent. 

He bent his head and looked at me searchingly, — a smile 
was on his lips and his eyes were full of tenderness. 

" Till to-morrow is not long to wait," — he said — " Not 
long — ^af ter so many years ! Good-night ! " 

A sense of calm and sweet assurance swept over me. 

" Good-night ! " I answered, with a smile of happy re- 
sponse to his own — " Till to-morrow ! " 

We were close to the gangway where the others already 



RECOGNITION 139 

stood. In another couple of minutes he had made his 
adieux to our whole party and was on his way back to 
his own vessel. The boat in which he sat, rowed strongly 
by our men, soon disappeared like a black blot on the gen- 
frsl darkness of the water, yet we remained for some time 
watc^biaig, as though we could see it even when it was no 
longer visdUe. 

"A strange fellow!" said Dr. Brayle when we moved 
away at last, flinging the end of his cigar over the yacht 
side — ^^ Something of madness and genius combined." 

Mr. Harland turned quickly upon him. 

" You mistake," — he answered — " There's no madness, 
though there is certainly genius. He's of the same mind 
as he was when I knew him at college. There never was 
a saner or more brilliant scholar." 

" It's curious you should meet him again like this," — 
said Catherine — " But surely, father, he's not as old as you 
are?" 

"He's about three and a half years younger — ^that's 
all." 

Dr. Brayle laughed. 

" I don't believe it for a moment ! " he said — " I think 
he's playing a part. He's probably not the man you knew 
at Oxford at all." 

We were then going to our cabins for the night, and Mr. 
Harland paused as these words were said and faced us. 

" He is the man ! " — ^he said, emphatically — " I had my 
doubts of him at first, but I was wrong. As for ' playing 
a part,' that would be impossible to him. He is absolutely 
truthful — almost to the verge of cruelty f " A curious ex- 
pression came into his eyes, as of hidden fear. " In one 
way I am glad to have met him again — ^in another I am 
sorry. For he is a disturber of the comfortable peace of 



I40 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

conventions. You " — ^here he regarded mc suddenly, as if 
he had aknost forgotten my presence — " will like him. You 
have many ideas in common and will be sure to get on well 
together. As for me, I am his direct opposite, — the two 
poles are not wider apart than we are in our feelings, senti- 
ments and beliefs.'' He paused, seeming to be troubled 
by the passing cloud of some painful thought — then he 
.went on — "There is one thing I should perhaps explain, 
especially to you, Brayle, to save useless argument. It is, 
of course, a ' craze ' — ^but craze or not, he is absolutely im- 
movable on one point which he calls the great Fact of 
Life, — ^that there is and can be no Death, — that Life is 
eternal and therefore in all its forms indestructible." 

" Does he consider himself immune from the common 
lot of mortals ? " asked Dr. Brayle, with a touch of derision. 

" He denies ' the common lot ' altogether *' — ^replied Mr. 
Harland — " For him, each individual life is a perpetual 
succession of progressive changes, and he holds that a 
change is never and can never be made till the person con- 
cerned has prepared the next * costume ' or mortal present- 
ment of immortal being, according to voluntary choice and 
liking." 

" Then he is mad ! " exclaimed Catherine. " He must 
be mad ! " 

I smiled. 

" Then I am mad too," — I said — " For I believe as he 
does. May I say good-night ? " 

And with that I left them, glad to be alone with myself 
and my heart's secret rapture. 



» 



VII 



MEMORIES 

Perfect happiness is the soul's acceptance of a sense of 
joy without question. And this is what I felt through all 
my being on that never-to-be-forgotten night. Just as a 
tree may be glad of the soft wind blowing its leaves, or a 
daisy in the grass may rejoice in the warmth of the sun 
to which it opens its golden heart without either being able 
to explain the delicious ecstasy, so I was the recipient of 
light and exquisite felicity which could have no explanation 
or analysis. I did not try to think, — it was enough for me 
simply to be. I realised, of course, that with the Harlands 
and their two paid attendants, the materialist Dr. Brayle, 
and the secretarial machine, Swinton, Rafel Santoris could 
have nothing in common, — ^and as I know, by daily experi- 
ence, that not even the most trifling event happens without 
a predestined cause for its occurrence and a purpose in 
its result, I was sure that the reason for his coming into 
touch with us at all was to be found in connection, through 
some mysterious intuition, with myself. However, as I 
say, I did not think about it, — ^I was content to breathe 
the invigorating air of peace and serenity in which my spirit 
seemed to float on wings. I slept like a child who is only 
tired out with play and pleasure, — I woke like a child to 
whom the world is all new and brimful of beauty. That 
it was a sunny day seemed right and natural— clouds and 
rain could hardly have penetrated the brilliant atmosphere 

HI 



142 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

in which I lived and moved. It was an atmosphere of 
my own creating, of course, and therefore not liable to 
be disturbed by storms unless I chose. It is possiUe for 
every human being to live in the sunshine of the soul what* 
ever may be the material surrotmdings of the body. The 
so-called ' practical ' person would have said to me : — * Whjf 
are you happy? There is no real cause for this sudden 
elation. You think you have met someone who is in sym- 
pathy with your tastes, ideas and feelings, — ^but you may 
be quite wrong, and this bright wave of joy into whidi 
you are plunging heedlessly may fling you bruised and 
broken on a desolate shore for the remainder of your life. 
One would think you had fallen in love at first sight." 

To which I should have replied that there is no such thing 
as falling in love at first sight, — ^that the very expression 
— * falling in love ' — conveys a false idea, and that what 
the world generally calls * love ' is not love at all. More- 
over, there was nothing in my heart or mind with regard 
to Rafel Santoris save a keen interest and sense of friend- 
ship. I was sure that his beliefs were the same as mine, 
and that he had been working along the same lines which 
I had endeavoured to follow; and just as two musicians, 
inspired by a mutual love of their art, may be glad to 
play their instruments together in time and tune, even so I 
felt that he and I had met on a plane of thought where we 
had both for a long time been separately wandering. 

The ' Dream ' yacht, with its white sails spread ready 
for a cruise, was as beautiful by day in the sunshine under 
a blue sky as by night with its own electric radiance flash' 
ing its outline against the stars, and I was eager to be on 
board. We were, however, delayed by an 'attack of 
nerves ' on the part of Catherine, who during the morning 
was seized with a violent fit of hysteria to which she cony 



MEMORIES 143 

pletely gave way, sobbing, laughing and gasping for breath 
in a manner which showed her to be quite unhinged and 
swept from self-control. Dr. Brayle took her at once in 
charge, while Mr. Harland fumed and fretted, pacing up 
and down in the saloon with an angry face and brooding 
eyes. He looked at me where I stood waiting, ready 
dressed for the excursion of the day, and said : 

" I*m sorry for all this worry. Catherine gets worse and 
worse. Her nerves tear her to pieces." 

" She allows them to do so," — I answered — ** And Dr. 
Brayle allows her to give them their way." 

He shrugged his shoulders. 

''You don't like Brayle,"— he said— ''But he's clever, 
and he does his best." 

" To keep his patients," — I hinted, with a smile. 

He turned on his heel and faced me. 

" Well now, come 1 " he said — " Could you cure her ? " 

" I could have cured her in the beginning," — ^I replied, 
*' But hardly now. No one can cure her now but herself." 

He paced up and down again. 

" She won't be able to go with us to visit Santoris," he 
said — " I'm sure of that." 

" Shall we put it off ? " I suggested. 

His eyebrows went up in surprise at me. 

" Why no, certainly not. It will be a change for you and* 
a pleasure of which I would not deprive you. Besides, I 
want to go myself. But Catherine " 

Dr. Brayle here entered the saloon with his softest step 
and most professional manner. 

" Miss Harland is better now," — ^he said — ^" She will be 
quite calm in a few minutes. But she must remain quiet. 
It will not be safe for her to attempt any excursion to- 
dar" 



144 THE UFE EVERLASTING 

'* Well, that need not prevent the rest of us from going.*^ 
*— said Mr. Harland. 

'^ Oh no, certainly not I In fact, Miss Harland said she 
hoped you would go, and make her excuses to Mr. San* 
toris. I shall, of course, be in attendance on her/' 

"You won't come, then?" — ^and an unconscious look 
of relief brightened Mr. Harland's features — ^''And as 
Swinton doesn't wish to join us, we shall be only a party 
of three — Captain Derrick, myself and our little friend here. 
We may as well be off. Is the boat ready ? " 

We were informed that Mr. Santoris had sent his own 
boat and men to fetch us, and that they had been waiting 
for some few minutes. We at once prepared to go, and 
while Mr. Harland was getting his overcoat and searching 
for his field-glasses, Dr. Brayle spoke to me in a low tone — 

" The truth of the matter is that Miss Harland has been 
greatly upset by the visit of Mr. Santoris and by some of 
the things he said last night. She could not sleep, and 
was exceedingly troubled in her mind by the most distress- 
ing thoughts. I am very glad she has decided not to sec 
him again to-day." 

" Do you consider his influence harmful ? " I queried, 
somewhat amused. 

" I consider him not quite sane," — Dr. Brayle answered, 
coldly — "And highly nervous persons like Miss Harland 
are best without the society of clever but wholly irresponsi- 
ble theorists." 

The colour burned in my cheeks. 

" You include me in that category, of course," — I said, 
quietly — " For I said last night that if Mr. Santoris was 
mad, then I am too, for I hold the same views." 

He smiled a superior smile. 

" There is no harm in you," — ^he answered, condescend- 



MEMORIES 145 

ingly — ^''You may think what you like, — you are only a 
woman. Very clever — ^very charming — and full of the most 
delightful fancies, — ^but weighted (fortunately) with the re- 
strictions of your sex. I mean no oflfence, I assure you,-^ 
but a woman's * views,' whatever they are, are never ac- 
cepted by rational beings." 

I laughed. 

" I see! And rational beings must always be men! " I 
said — " You are quite certain of that ? " 

"In the fact that men ordain the world's government 
and progress, you have your answer," — he replied. 

" Alas, poor world ! " I murmured — '^ Sometimes it re- 
bels against the ' rationalism ' of its rulers ! " 

Just then Mr. Harland called me, and I hastened to join 
him and Captain Derrick. The boat which was waiting 
for us was manned by four sailors who wore white 
jerseys trimmed with scarlet, bearing the name of the 
yacht to which they belonged — ^the * Dream.' These men 
were dark-skinned and dark-eyed, — we took them at first 
for Portuguese or Malays, but they turned out to be from 
Egypt. They saluted us, but did not speak, and as soon 
as we were seated, pulled swiftly away across the water. 
Captain Derrick .watched their movements with great in- 
terest and curiosity. 

" Plenty of grit in those chaps," — ^he said, aside to Mr. 
Harland — " Look at their muscular arms ! I suppose they 
don't speak a word of English." 

Mr. Harland thereupon tried one of them with a remark 
about the weather. The man smiled — ^and the sudden gleam 
of his white teeth gave a wonderful light and charm to his 
naturally grave cast of countenance. 

" Beautiful day ! " — he said, — " Very happy sky ! " 

This expression ' happy sky ' attracted me. It recalled 



146 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

to my mind a phrase I had once read in the translation of 
an inscription found in an Eg3rptian sarcophagus — ^'The 
peace of the morning befriend thee, and the light of the 
sunset and the happiness of the sky." The words rang in 
my ears with an odd familiarity, like the verse of some 
poem loved and learned by heart in childhood. 

In a very few minutes we were alongside the ' Dream * 
and soon on board, where Rafel Santoris received us with 
kindly courtesy and warmth of welcome. He expressed 
polite regret at the absence of Miss Harland — ^none for 
that of Dr. Brayle or Mr. Swinton — and then introduced 
us to his captain, an Italian named Marino Fazio, of whom 
Santoris said to us, smilingly: — 

'' He is a scientist as well as a skipper — and he needs 
to be both in the management of such a vessel as this. 
He will take Captain Derrick in his charge and explain to 
him the mystery of our brilliant appearance at night, and 
also the secret of our sailing without wind." 

Fazio saluted, and smiled a cheerful response. 

" Are you ready to start now ? " he asked, speaking very 
good English with just the slightest trace of a foreign 
accent. 

"Perfectly!" 

Fazio lifted his hand with a sign to the man at the wheel. 
Another moment and the yacht began to move. Without! 
the slightest noise, — ^without the grinding of ropes, or rat- 
tling of chains, or creaking boards, she swun^ gracefully 
round, and began to glide through the water with a swift- 
ness that was almost incredible. The sails filled, though 
the air was intensely warm and stirless — ^an air in which 
any ordinary schooner would have been hopelessly be- 
calmed, — and almost before we knew it we were out of 
Loch Scavaig and flying as though borne on the wings of 



MEMORIES 147 

Mne great white bird, all along the wild and picturesque 
coast of Skye towards Loch Bracadale. One of the most 
remarkable features about the yacht was the extraordinary 
lightness with which she skimmed the waves — she seemed 
to ride on their surface rather than part them with her 
keel. Everything on board expressed the finest taste as 
well as the most perfect convenience, and I saw Mr. Har- 
land gazing about him in utter amazement at the elegant 
sumptuousness of his surroundings. Santoris showed us all 
over the vessel, talking to us with the ease of quite an old 
friend. 

" You know the familiar axiom," — he said — " ' Anything 
worth doing at all is worth doing well.' The * Dream * was 
first of all nothing but a dream in my brain till I set to 
work with Fazio and made it a reality. Owing to our dis*> 
covery of the way in which to compel the waters to serve 
us as our motive power, we have no blackening smoke or 
steam, so that our furniture and fittings are preserved from 
dinginess and tarnish. It was possible to have the saloon 
delicately painted, as you see," — ^here he opened the door 
of the apartment mentioned, and we stepped into it as into 
a fairy palace. It was much loftier than the usual yacht 
saloon, and on all sides the windows were oval shaped, s^t 
in between the most exquisitely painted panels of sea pieces^ 
evidently the work of some great artist. Overhead th« 
ceiling was draped with pale turquoise blue silk forming a 
canopy, which was gathered in rich folds on all four sides, 
having in its centre a crystal lamp in the shape of a star. 

" You live like a king " — then said Mr. Harland, a trifle 
bitterly — " You know how to use your father's fortune." 

" My father's fortune was made to be used," answered 
Santoris, with perfect good-humour — " And I think he is 
perfectly satisfied with my mode of expending it But very 



148 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

little of it has been touched. I have made my own fortune.'^ 

'' Indeed ! How? " And Harland looked as he evidently 
felt, keenly interested. 

'' Ah, that's asking too much of me ! " laughed Santoiis. 
" You may be satisfied, however, that it's not through de- 
frauding my neighbours. It's comparatively easy to be rich 
if you have coaxed any of Mother Nature's secrets out of 
her. She is very kind to her children, if they are kind 
to her, — in fact, she spoils them, for the more they ask of 
her the more she gives. Besides, every man should make 
his own money even if he inherits wealth, — it is the only 
way to feel worthy of a place in this beautiful, ever-working 
world." 

He preceded us out of the saloon and showed us the 
itate-rooms, of which there were five, daintily furnished in 
white and blue and white and rose. 

" These are for my guests when I have any," he said, 
•* which is very seldom. This for a princess — ^if ever one 
should honour me with her presence ! " 

And he opened a door on his right, through which wc 
peered into a long, lovely room, gleaming with iridescent 
hues and sparkling with touches of gold and crystal. The 
bed was draped with cloudy lace through which a shimmer 
of pale rose-colour made itself visible, and the carpet of 
dark moss-green formed a perfect setting for the quaintly 
shaped furniture, which was all of sandal-wood inlaid with 
ivory. On a small table of carved ivory in the centre of 
the room lay a bunch of Madonna lilies tied with a finely 
twisted cord of gold. We murmured our admiration, and 
Santoris addressed himself directly to me for the first time 
since we had come on board. 

"Will you go in and rest for a while till luncheon?** 
he said — " I placed the lilies there for your acceptance." 



MEMORIES 149 

Tlie colour rushed to my cheeks^ — I looked up at him 
in a little wonderment. 

'* But I am not a princess I " 

His eyes smiled down into mine. 

** No ? Then I must have dreamed you were ! " 

My heart gave a quick throb, — ^some memory touched 
my brain, but what it was I could not tell. Mr. Harland 
glanced at me and laughed. 

I *' What did I tell you the other day? " he said—" Did 
I not call you the princess of a fairy tale? I was not far 
wrong ! '* 

They left me to myself then, and as I stood alone in 
the beautiful room which had thus been placed at my dis- 
posal, a curious feeling came over me that these luxurious 
surroundings were, after all, not new to my experience. I 
had been accustomed to them for a great part of my life. 
Stay ! — ^how foolish of me ! — ' a great part of my life ' ? — 
then what part of it ? I briefly reviewed my own career, — 
a difficult and solitary childhood, — ^the hard and uphill work 
which became my lot as soon as I was old enough to work 
at all, — incessant study, and certainly no surplus of riches. 
Then where had I known luxury? I sank into a chair, 
dreamily considering. The floating scent of sandal-wood 
and the perfume of lilies commingled was like the breath of 
an odorous garden in the East, familiar to me long ago, 
and as I sat musing I became conscious of a sudden inrush 
of power and sense of dominance which lifted me as it 
were above myself, as though I had, without any warning, 
been given the full control of a great kingdom and its 
people. Catching sight of my own reflection in an opposite 
mirror, I was startled and almost afraid at the expression 
of my face, the proud light in my eyes, the smile on vof 
lips. 



I50 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

" What am I thinking of I " I said, half aloud—" I am 
not my true self to-day, — some remnant of a cast-oflP pride 
has arisen in me and made me less of a humble student 
I must not yield to this overpowering demand on my soul, 
— it is surely an evil suggestion which asserts itself like the 
warning pain or fever of an impending disease. Can it be 
the influence of Santoris ? No ! — I will never believe it ! " 

And yet a vague uneasiness beset me, and I rose and 
paced about restlessly, — ^then pausing where the lovely Ma- 
donna lilies lay on the ivory table, I remembered they had 
been put there for me. I raised them gently, inhaling their 
delicious fragrance, and as I did so, saw, lying immediately 
underneath them, a golden Cross of a mystic shape 1 knew 
well, — its upper half set on the face of a seven-pointed 
Star, also of gold. With joy I took it up and kissed it 
reverently, and as I compared it with the one I always se- 
cretly wore on my own person, I knew that all was well, 
and that I need have no distrust of Rafel Santoris. No 
injurious effect on my mind could possibly be exerted by 
his influence — ^and I was thrown back on myself for a due 
to that singular wave of feeling, so entirely contrary to 
my own disposition, which had for a moment overwhelmed 
me. I could not trace its source, but I speedily conquered 
it. Fastening one of the snowy lilies in my waistband, as 
a contrast to the bright bit of beil-heather which I cher- 
ished even more than if it were a jewel, I presently went 
up on deck, where I found my host, Mr. Harland, Cap- 
tain Derrick and Marino Fazio all talking animatedly 
together- 

" The mystery is cleared up," — said Mr. Harland, ad- 
dressing me as I approached — '' Captain Derrick is satisfied. 
He has learned how one of the finest schooners he has ever 
seen can make full speed in any weather without wind." 



MEMORIES 151 



€€ 



Oh no, I haven't learned how to do it, — ^I*m a long 
way oflf that I" — ^said Derrick, good-humouredly — ^"But 
IVc seen how it's done. And it's marvellous ! If that in- 
vention could be applied to all ships " 

" Ah ! — ^but first of all it would be necessary to instruct 
the shipbuilders ! " — ^put in Fazio—" They would have to 
learn their trade all over again. Our yacht looks as though 
she were built on the same lines as all yachts, — ^but you 
know — ^you have seen — she is entirely different ! " 

Captain Derrick gave a nod of grave emphasis. Santoris 
meantime had come to my side. Our glances met, — he saw 
that I had received and understood the message of the lilies, 
and a light and colour came into his eyes that made them 
beautiful 

** Men have not yet fully enjoyed their heritage," he 
said, taking up the conversation — " Our yacht's motive 
power seems complex, but in reality it is very simple, — ^and 
the same force which propels this light vessel would propel 
the biggest liner afloat. Nature has given us all the ma- 
terials for every kind of work and progress, physical and 
mental — ^but because we do not at once comprehend them 
we deny their uses. Nothing in the air, earth or water 
exists which we may not press into our service, — ^and it is 
in the study of natural forces that we find our conquest. 
What hundreds of years it took us to discover the wonders 
of steam! — how the discoverer was mocked and laughed 
at I — ^yet it was not really * wonderful ' — it was always 
there, waiting to be employed, and wasted by mere lack of 
human effort. One can say the same of electricity, some- 
times called ' miraculous ' — it is no miracle, but perfectly 
common and natural, only we have, until now, failed to 
apply it to our needs, — and even when wider disclosures of 
science are being made to us every day, we still bar knowl« 



152 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

edge by obstinacy, and remain in ignorance rather thaD 
learn. A few grains in weight of hydrogen have power 
enough to raise a million tons to a height of more than 
three hundred feet, — and if we could only find a way to 
liberate economically and with discretion the various forces 
which Spirit and Matter contain, we might change the 
whole occupation of man and make of him less a labourer 
than thinker, less mortal than angel I The wildest fairy- 
tales might come true, and earth be transformed into a 
paradise! And as for motive power, in a thimbleful of 
concentrated fuel we might take the largest ship across the 
widest ocean. I say if we could only find a way! Some 
think they are finding it " 

" You, for example ? " — suggested Mr. Harland. 

He laughed. 

"I — if you like! — for example! Will you come to 
luncheon ? " 

He led the way, and Mr. Harland and I followed. Cap- 
tain Derrick, who I saw was a little afraid of him, had 
arranged to take his luncheon with Fazio and the other 
officers of the crew apart. We were waited upon by dark- 
skinned men attired in the picturesque costume of the East, 
who performed their duties with noiseless grace and swift- 
ness. The yacht had for some time slackened speed, and 
appeared to be merely floating lazily on the surface of the 
calm water. We were told she could always do this and 
make almost imperceptible headway, provided there was no 
impending storm in the air. It seemed as if we were 
scarcely moving, and the whole atmosphere surrounding 
us expressed the most delicious tranquillity. The luncheon 
prepared for us was of the daintiest and most elegant 
description, and Mr. Harland, who on account of his ill- 
health seldom had any appetite, enjoyed it with a zest 



MEMORIES 153 

and heartiness I had never seen him display before. 
He particularly appreciated the wine, a rich, ruby- 
ooloured beverage which was unlike anything I had ever 
tasted. 

" There is nothing remarkable about it," — said Santoris, 
when questioned as to its origin — " It is simply real wine, 
— though you may say that of itself is remarkable, there 
being none in the market. It is the pure juice of the grape, 
prepared in such a manner as to nourish the blood without 
inflaming it. It can do you no harm, — ^in fact, for you, 
Harland, it is an excellent thing." 

" Why for me in particular ? " queried Harland, rather 
sharply. 

" Because you need it," — ^answered Santoris — " My dear 
fellow, you are not in the best of health. And you will 
never get better under your present treatment." 

I looked up eagerly. 

*' That is what I, too, have thought," — I said — " only 
I dared not express it ! " 

Mr. Harland surveyed me with an amused smile. 

" Dared not ! I know nothing you would not dare !-^ 
but with all your boldness, you are full of mere theories,-^ 
and theories never made an ill man well yet." 

Santoris exchanged a swift glance with me. Then he 
(spoke: — 

Theory without practice is, of course, useless," — ^he said 
But surely you can see that this lady has reached a 
certain plane of thought on which she herself dwells in 
health and content? And can she not serve you as an 
object lesson ? " 

Not at all," — ^replied Mr. Harland, almost testily— 

She is a woman whose life has been immersed in study 
and contemplation, and because she has allowed herself tQ 



(4 



it 
it 



154 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

forego many of the world's pleasures she can be made hapiqf 
by a mere nothing — 3, handful of roses — or the sound of 
sweet music " 

" Are they ' nothings ' ? " — interrupted Santoris. 

" To business men they are " 

" And business itself ? Is it not also from some points 
of view a ' nothing ' ? " 

" Santoris, if you are going to be * transcendental ' I 
will have none of you! " said Mr. Harland, with a vexed 
laugh — " What I wish to say is merely this — that my little 
friend here, for whom I have a great esteem, let me assure 
her! — is not really capable of forming an opinion of the 
condition of a man like myself, nor can she judge of the 
treatment likely to benefit me. She does not even know 
the nature of my illness — but I can see that she has taken 
a dislike to my physician, Brayle " 

" I never ' take dislikes,' Mr. Harland," — I interrupted, 
quickly — " I merely trust to a guiding instinct which tells 
me when a man is sincere or when he is acting a part 
That's all." 

" Well, you've decided that Brayle is not sincere," — he 
replied — " And you hardly think him clever. But if you 
would consider the point logically — ^you might enquire what 
motive could he possibly have for playing the humbug with 
me?" 

Santoris smiled. 

" Oh, man of * business ' ! You can ask that? " 

We were at the end of luncheon, — the servants had re- 
tired, and Mr. Harland was sipping his coffee and smoking 
a cigar. 

" You can ask that ? " he repeated — " You, a millionaire, 
with one daughter who is your sole heiress, can ask what 
motive a man like Brayle, — ^worldly, calculating and with- 



MEMORIES 155 

>ut heart — ^has in keeping you both — ^both, I say — ^you and 
^our daughter equally — ^in his medical clutches ? " 

Mr. Harland's sharp eyes flashed with a sudden menace. 

*' If I thought " he began — ^then he broke off. Pres- 
ently he resumed — " You are not aware of the true state of 
affairs, Santoris. Wizard and scientist as you are, you 
cannot know everything! I need constant medical attend- 
ance — ^and my disease is incurable " 

" No ! " — ^said Santoris, quietly — " Not incurable." 

A sudden hope illumined Harland's worn and haggard 
face. 

" Not incurable ! But — ^my good fellow, you don't even 
know what it is ! '' 

" I do. I also know how it began« and when, — ^how it 
has progressed, and how it will end. I know, too, how it 
can be checked— cut off in its development, and utterly de- 
stroyed, — ^but the cure would depend on yourself more than 
on Dr. Brayle or any other physician. At present no good 
is being done and much harm. For instance, you are in 
pain now?" 

" I am — ^but how can you tell ? " 

" By the small, almost imperceptible lines on your face 
which contract quite unconsciously to yourself. I can stop 
that dreary suffering at once for you, if you will let me." 

''Oh, I will 'let' you, certainly!" and Mr. Harland 
smiled incredulously, — " But I think you over-estimate your 
abilities." 

" I was never a boaster," — ^replied Santoris, cheerfully 
— *' But you shall keep whatever opinion you like of me." 
And he drew from his pocket a tiny crystal phial set in 
a sheath of gold. " A touch of this in your glass of wine 
will make you feel a new man." 

We watched him with strained attention as he carefully 



€56 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

allowed two small drops of liquid, bright and dear as d!e^ 
to fall one after the other into Mr. Harland's glass. 

" Now," — he continued — *' drink without fear, and say 
good-bye to all pain for at least forty-eight hours." 

With a docility quite unusual to him Mr. Harland obeyed 

" May I go on smoking ? " he asked. 

" You may." 

A minute passed, and Mr. Harland's face expressed a 
sudden surprise and relief. 

"Well! What now?" asked Santoris— " How is the 
pain?" 

" Gone ! " he answered — " I can hardly believe it — but 
I'm bound to admit it ! " 

" That's right ! And it will not come back — not to-day, 
at any rate, nor to-morrow. Shall we go on dedc 
now?" 

We assented. As we left the saloon he said : 

" You must see the glow of the sunset over Loch Coruisk. 
It's always a fine sight and it promises to be specially fine 
this evening, — ^there are so many picturesque clouds float- 
ing about. We are turning back to Loch Scavaig, — and 
when we get there we can land and do the rest of the 
excursion on foot. It's not much of a climb; will you 
feel equal to it ? " 

This question he put to me personally. 

I smiled. 

"Of course! I feel equal to anything! Besides, I've 
been very lazy on board the * Diana,' taking no real exer- 
cise. A walk will do me good." 

Mr. Harland seated himself in one of the long reclining 
chairs which were placed temptingly under an awning on 
deck. His eyes were clearer and his face more composed 
than I had ever seen it. 



MEMORIES 157 



*4 



" Those drops you gave me are magical, Santoris ! *'— 
lie said — " I wish you'd let me have a supply I '* 

Santoris stood looking down upon him kindly. 

" It would not be safe for you/' — ^he answered — ^* The 
remedy is a sovereign one if used very rarely, and with 
extreme caution, but in uninstructed hands it is dangerous. 
Its work is to stimulate certain cells — at the same time 
(like all things taken in excess) it can destroy them. More- 
over, it would not agree with Dr. Brayle's medicines." 
You really and truly think Brayle an impostor ? " 
Impostor is a strong word ! No ! — I will give him credit 
for believing in himself up to a certain point. But of course 
he knows that the so-called ^ electric ' treatment he is giving 
to your daughter is perfectly worthless, just as he knows 
that she is not really ill." 

" Not really ilU " 

Mr. Harland almost bounced up in his chair, while I felt 
a secret thrill of satisfaction. " Why, she's been a misera- 
ble, querulous invalid for years " 

" Since she broke off her engagement to a worthless 
rascal " — said Santoris, calmly. " You see, I know aB 
about it." 

I listened, astonished. How did he know, how could 
he know, the intimate details of a life like Catherine's 
which could scarcely be of interest to a man such as he 
was? 

** Your daughter's trouble is written on her face " — he 
went on — "Warped affections, slain desires, disappointed 
hopes, — ^and neither the strength nor the will to turn these 
troubles to blessings. Therefore they resemble an army of 
malarious germs which are eating away her moral fibre. 
Brayle knows that what she needs is the belief that some- 
one has an interest not only in her, but in the particularly 



IS8 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

morbid view she has taught herself to take of life. He is 
actively showing that interest. The rest is easy, — and will 
be easier when — ^well! — ^when you are gone/' 

Mr. Harland was silent, drawing slow whiffs from his 
cigar. After a long pause, he said — 

'"You are prejudiced, and I think you are mistaken. 
You only saw the man for a few minutes last night, and 
you know nothing of him " 



" Nothing, — except what he is bound to reveal,"- 
swered Santoris. 

" What do you mean ? " 

" You will not believe me if I tell you," — and Santoris, 
drawing a chair close to mine, sat down, — ^^ Yet I am sure 
this lady, who is your friend and guest, will corroborate 
what I say, — ^though, of course, you will not believe herl 
In fact, my dear Harland, as you have schooled yourself 
to believe nothing, why urge me to point out a truth you 
decline to accept? Had you lived in the time of Galileo 
you would have been one of his torturers ! " 

" I ask you to explain," said Mr. Harland, with a touch 
of pique — " Whether I accept your explanation or not is 
my own affair." 

" Quite ! " agreed Santoris, with a slight smile — ** As I 
told you long ago at Oxford, a man's life is his own affair 
entirely. He can do what he likes with it. But he can 
no more command the result of what he does with it than 
the sun can conceal its rays. Each individual human being, 
male and female alike, moves unconsciously in the light of 
self-revealment, as though all his or her faults and virtues 
were reflected like the colours in a prism, or were set out 
in a window for passers-by to gaze upon. Fortunately for 
the general peace of society, however, most passers-by arc 
not gifted with the sight to see the involuntary display.^ 



if 



MEMORIES 159 

•*You speak in enigmas/' said Harland, impatiently— 
** And I'm not good at guessing them." 

Santoris regarded him fixedly. His eyes were luminotis 
and compassionate. 

" The simplest truths are to you * enigmas,' " he said, 
regretfully — '^ A pity it is so ! You ask me what I mean 
when I say a man is * bound to reveal himself.' The process 
of self-revealment accompanies self-existence, as much as 
the fragrance of a rose accompanies its opening petals. You 
can never detach yourself from your own enveloping aura 
neither in body nor in soul. Christ taught this when He 
said : — ' Let your light so shine before men that they may 
see your good works and glorify your Father which is in 
heaven.' Your * light ' — remember ! — ^that word ' light * is 
not used here as a figure of speech but as a statement of 
fact- A positive * light ' surrounds you — it is exhaled and 
produced by your physical and moral being, — ^and those 
among us who have cultivated their inner organs of vision 
see it before they see you. It can be of the purest radiance, 
— equally it can be a mere nebulous film, — ^but whatever 
the moral and physical condition of the man or woman 
concerned it is always shown in the aura which each sep- 
arate individual expresses for himself or herself. In this 
way Dr. Brayle reveals his nature to me as well as the chief 
tendency of his thoughts, — in this way you reveal yourself 
and your present state of health, — it is a proved test that 
cannot go wrong." 

Mr. Harland listened with his usual air of cynical toler- 
ance and incredulity. 

" I have heard this sort of nonsense before," — ^he said — 
*' I have even read in otherwise reliable scientific 
journals about the * auras ' of people affecting us with 
antipathies or sympathies for or against them. But 



i6o THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

it's a merely fanciful suggestion and has no foundation in 

reality." 

" Why did you wish me to explain, then ? *' asked San- 
toris — " I can only tell you what I know, and — ^what I 
see ! " 

Harland moved restlessly, holding his cigar between his 
fingers and looking at it curiously to avoid, as I thought, 
the steadfast brilliancy of the compelling eyes that were 
fixed upon him. 

" These ' auras/ " he went on, indifferently, " are noth- 
ing but suppositions. I grant you that certain discoveries 
are being made concerning the limiinosity of trees and 
plants which in some states of the atmosphere give out 
rays of light, — ^but that human beings do the same I decline 
to believe." 

" Of course ! " and Santoris leaned back in his chair 
easily, as though at once dismissing the subject from his 
mind — " A man bom blind must needs decline to believe 
in the pleasures of sight." 

Harland's wrinkled brow deepened its furrows in a 
frown. 

" Do you mean to tell me, — do you dare to tell me " — 
he said — " that you see any ' aura,' as you call it, round 
my personality ? " 

" I do, most assuredly," — ^answered Santoris — " I see it 
as distinctly as I see yourself in the midst of it. But there 
is no actual light in it, — it is mere grey mist, — ^a mist of 



miasma." 



" Thank you ! " and Harland laughed harshly — ^^ You 
are complimentary ! " 

" Is it a time for compliments ? " asked Santoris, with 
sudden sternness — " Harland, would you have me tell you 
all?'' 



MEMORIES i6t 

Harland's face grew livid. He threw up his hand with 
a warning gesture. 

" No ! " he said, almost violently. He clutched the arm 
of his chair with a nervous grip, and for one instant looked 
like a hunted creature caught red-handed in some act of 
crime. Recovering himself quickly, he forced a smile. 

** What about our little friend's ' aura ' ? " — he queried, 
glancing at me — ** Does she * express ' herself in radiance ? " 

Santoris did not reply for a monjent. Then he turned 
his eyes towards me almost wistfully. 

" She does ! *' — he answered — " I wish you could see her 
as I see her ! ** 

There was a moment's silence. My face grew warm, 
and I was vaguely embarrassed, but I met his gaze fully 
and frankly. 

" And / wish I could see myself as you see me,*' — I said, 
half laughingly — " For I am not in the least aware of my 



own aura/' 



it 



It is not intended that anyone should be visibly aware 
of it in their own personality," — ^he answered — " But I 
think it is right we should realise the existence of these 
radiant or cloudy exhalations which we ourselves weave 
around ourselves, so that we may ' walk in the light as 
children of the light.' " 

His voice sank to a grave and tender tone which checked 
Mr. Harland in something he was evidently about to say, 
for he bit his lip and was silent. 

I rose from my chair and moved away then, looking 
from the smooth deck of the ' Dream ' shadowed by her 
full white sails out to the peaks of the majestic hills whose 
picturesque beauties are sung in the wild strains of Ossian, 
and the projecting crags, deep hollows and lofty pinnacles 
outlining the coast with its numerous waterfalls, lochs and 



i62 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

shadowy creeks. A thin and delicate haze of mist hung 
over the land like a pale violet veil through which the suo 
shot beams of rose and gold, giving a vaporous unsub- 
stantial effect to the scenery as though it were gliding with 
us like a cloud pageant on the surface of the calm water. 
The shores of Loch Scavaig began to be dimly seen in the 
distance, and presently Captain Derrick approached Mr. 
Harland, spy-glass in hand. 

" The ' Diana ' must have gone for a cruise," — he said, 
in rather a perturbed way — " As far as I can make out, 
there's no sign of her where we left her this morning." 

Mr. Harland heard this indifferently. 

" Perhaps Catherine wished for a sail," — ^he answered. 
" There are plenty on board to manage the vessel. You're 
not anxious ? " 

" Oh, not at all, sir, if you are satisfied," — ^Derrick an- 
swered. 

Mr. Harland stretched himself luxuriously in his chair. 

" Personally, I don't mind where the * Diana ' has gone 
to for the moment," — he said, with a laugh — " I'm particu- 
larly comfortable where I am. Santoris ! " 

" Here ! " And Santoris, who had stepped aside to give 
some order to one of his men, came up at the call. 

" What do you say to leaving me on board while you 
and my little friend go and see your sunset effect on Loch 
Coruisk by yourselves ? " 

Santoris heard this suggestion with an amused look. 

" You don't care for sunsets ? " 

" Oh yes, I do, — in a way. But I've seen so many of 

them " 

No two alike " — ^put in Santoris. 
I daresay not. Still, I don't mind missing a few. Just 
now I should like a sound sleep rather than a sunset. It's 






MEMORIES 163 

rcry unsociable, I know, — ^but " here he half closed his 

^es and seemed inclined to doze off there and then. 

Santoris turned to me. 

" What do you say ? Can you put up with my company 
for an hour or two and allow me to be your guide to Loch 
Coruisk? Or Would you, too, rather not see the simset?" 

Our eyes met. A thrill of mingled joy and fear ran 
through me, and again I felt ihat strange sense of power 
and dominance which had previously overwhelmed me. 

" Indeed, I have set my heart on going to Loch Coruisk " 
-wl answered, lightly — " And I cannot let you off your 
promise to take me there ! We will leave Mr. Harland to 
his siesta." 

" You're stu-e you do not mind ? " — ^said Harland, then, 
opening his eyes drowsily — " You will be perfectly safe 
with Santoris." 

I smiled. I did not need that assurance. And I talked 
gaily with Captain Derrick on the subject of the ' Diana ' 
and the course of her possible cruise, while he scanned the 
waters in search of her, — ^and I watched with growing im- 
patience our gradual approach to Loch Scavaig, which in 
the bright afternoon looked scarcely less dreary than at 
night, especially now that the ' Diana ' was no longer there 
to give some air of human occupation to the wild and barren 
surrotindings. The sun was well inclined towards the 
western horizon when the * Dream ' reached her former 
moorings and noiselessly dropped anchor, and about twenty 
minutes later the electric launch belonging to the vessel was 
lowered and I entered it with Santoris, a couple of his 
men managing the boat as it rushed through the dark steel- 
coloured water to the shore. 



VIII 



VISIONS 

The touch of the earth seemed strange to me after neariy 
a week spent at sea, and as I sprang from the launch on 
to the rough rocks, aided by Santoris, I was for a moment 
faint and giddy. The dark mountain summits seemed to 
swirl round me, — ^and the glittering water, shining like 
steel, had the weird effect of a great mirror in which a 
fluttering vision of something undefined and undeclared 
rose and passed like a breath. I recovered myself with an 
effort and stood still, trying to control the foolish throb- 
bing of my heart, while my companion gave a few orders 
to his men in a language which I thought I knew, though 
I could not follow it. 

" Are you speaking Gaelic ? " I asked him, with a smile. 

" No ! — only something very like it — Phoenician." 

He looked straight at me as he said this, and his eyes, 
darkly blue and brilliant, expressed a world of suggestion. 
He went on: — 

" AH this country was familiar ground to the Phoenician 
colonists of ages ago. I am sure you know that! The 
Gaelic tongue is the genuine dialect of the ancient Phoenician 
Celtic, and when I speak the original language to a 
Highlander who only knows his native Gaelic he under- 
stands me perfectly." 

I was silent. We moved away from the shore, walking 
slowly side by side. Presently I paused, looking back at 
the launch we had just left. 



VISIONS 165 



" Your men are not Highlanders ? " 

*' No— they are from Egypt." 

" But surely/' — I said, with some hesitation — '' Phoe- 
nician is no longer known or spoken ? " 

" Not by the world of ordinary men/' — ^he answered — 
"/ know it and speak it, — ^and so do most of those who; 
serve me. You have heard it before, only you do not quite 
remember." I looked at him, startled. He smiled, adding 
gently : — ^^ Nothing dies — ^not even a language ! " 

We were not yet out of sight of the men. They had 
pushed the launch off shore again and were starting it back 
to the yacht, it being arranged that they should return for 
us in a couple of hours. We were following a path among 
slippery stones near a rushing torrent, but as we turned 
round a sharp bend we lost the view of Loch Scavaig itself 
and were for the first time truly alone. Huge mountains, 
crowned with jagged pinnacles, surrounded us on all sides, 
• — ^here and there tufts of heather clinging to large masses 
of dark stone blazed rose-purple in the declining sunshine, 
—the hollow sound of the falling stream made a perpetual 
crooning music in our ears, and the warm, stirless aif 
seemed breathless, as though hung in suspense above us 
waiting for the echo of some word or whisper that should 
betray a life's secret. Such a silence held us that it was 
almost unbearable, — every nerve in my body seemed like a 
strained harp-string ready to snap at a touch,— and yet I 
could not speak. I tried to get the mastery over the rising 
tide of thought, memory and emotion that surged in my 
soul like a tempest — swiftly and peremptorily I argued with 
myself that the extraordinary chaos of my mind was only 
due to my own imaginings, — ^nevertheless, despite my strug- 
gles, I remained caught as it were in a web that imprisoned 
every faculty and sense, — a web fine as gossamer, yet un- 



i66 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

breakable as iron. In a kind of desperation I raised mf 
eyes, burning with the heat of restrained tears, and saw 
Santoris watching me with patient, almost appealing ten- 
derness. I felt that he could read my unexpressed trouUe, 
and involuntarily I stretched out my hands to him. 

" Tell me ! " I half whispered—" What is it I must know? 
We are strangers — ^and yet " 

He caught my hands in his own. 

" Not strangers ! " he said, his voice trembling a little— 
*' You cannot say that ! Not strangers — but old friends ! " 

The strong gentleness of his clasp recalled the warm 
pressure of the invisible hands that had guided me out of 
darkness in my dream of a few nights past. I looked up into 
his face, and every line of it became suddenly, startlingly 
familiar. The deep-set blue eyes, — ^the broad brows and 
intellectual features were all as well known to me as might 
be the portrait of a beloved one to the lover, and my heart 
almost stood still with the wonder and terror of the recog- 
nition. 

" Not strangers," — he repeated, with quiet emphasis, as 
though to reassure me — " Only since we last met we have 
travelled far asunder. Have yet a little patience! You 
will presently remember me as well as I remember you!'' 

With the rush of startled recollection I found my voice. 

" I remember you now! " — I said, in low, unsteady tones 
— " I have seen you often — often! But where? Tell me 
where ? Oh, surely you know ! " 

He still held my hands with the tenderest force, — and 
seemed, like myself, to find speech difficult. If two deeply 
attached friends, parted for many years, were all unex- 
pectedly to meet in some solitary place where neither had 
thought to see a living soul, their emotion could hardly 
be keener than ours, — ^and yet — there was an invisible bar- 



VISIONS 167 

ricr between us — a barrier erected either by him or by 
myself,' — something that held us apart. The sudden and 
overpowering demand made upon our strength by the swift 
and subtle attraction which drew us together was held in 
dieck by ourselves, — and it was as if we were each sep- 
arately surrounded by a circle across which neither of usj 
dared to pass. I looked at him in mingled fear and ques-' 
tioning — ^his eyes were gravely thoughtful and full of light. 

" Yes, I know," — ^he answered, at last, speaking very 
softly — while, gently releasing one of my hands, he held 
the other — " I know, — ^but we need not speak of that ! As 
I have already said, you will remember all by gradual 
degrees. We are never permitted to entirely forget. But 
it :5 quite natural that now — at this immediate hour — ^we 
should find it strange — ^you, perhaps, more than I — ^that 
something impels us one to the other, — something that will 
not be gainsaid, — ^something that if all the powers of earth 
and heaven could intervene, v/hich by simplest law they 
cannot, will take no denial ! " 

I trembled, not with fear, but with an exquisite delight 
I dared not pause to analyse. He pressed my hand more 
closely. 

"We had better walk on," — ^he continued, averting his 
gaze from mine for the moment — " If I say more just 
now I shall say too much — ^and you will be frightened, — 
perhaps offended. I have been guilty of so many errors 
in the past, — ^you must help me to avoid them in the future. 
Come ! " — ^and he turned his eyes again upon me with a 
smile — '' Let us see the sunset ! " 

We moved on for a few moments in absolute silence, 
he still holding my hand and guiding me up the rough 
path we followed. The noise of the rushing torrent sounded 
louder in my ears, sometimes with a clattering insistence 



i68 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

as though it sought to match itself against the surging of 
my own quick blood in an endeavour to drown my thoughts. 
On we went and still onward, — ^the path seemed intermina- 
ble, though it was in reality a very short journey. But 
there was such a weight of unutterable things pressing on 
my soul like a pent-up storm craving for outlet, that every 
step measured itself as almost a mile. 

At last we paused ; we were in full view of Loch Coruisk 
and its weird splendour. On all sides arose bare and lofty 
mountains, broken and furrowed here and there by deep 
hollows and corries, — supremely grand in their impressive 
desolation, uplifting their stony peaks around us like the 
walls and turrets of a gigantic fortress, and rising so 
abruptly and so impenetrably encompassing the black stretdi 
of water below, that it seemed impossible for a sunbeam 
to force its shining entrance into such a circle of dense 
gloom. Yet there was a shower of golden light pouring 
aslant down one of the highest of the hills, brightening to 
vivid crimson stray clumps of heather, touching into pale 
green some patches of moss and lichen, and giving the daz- 
zling flash of silver to the white wings of a sea-gull which 
soared above our heads uttering wild cries like a creature 
in pain. Pale blue mists were rising from the surface of 
the lake, and the fitful gusts of air that rushed over the 
rocky summits played with these impalpable vapours borne 
inland from the Atlantic, and tossed them to and fro into 
fantastic shapes — ^some like flying forms with long hair 
streaming behind them — some like armed warriors, hurtling 
their spears against each other, — ^and some like veiled ghosts 
hurrying past as though driven to their land of shadows 
by shuddering fear. We stood silently hand in hand, watch- 
ing the uneasy flitting of these cloud phantoms, and waiting 
for the deepening glow, which, when it should spread up- 



VISIONS 169 

wards from the rays of the sinking sun, would transform 
the wild, dark seene to one of almost supernatural splendour. 
Suddenly Santoris spoke : 

" Now shall I tell you where we last met ? " he asked, 
very gently — ^" And may I show you the reasons why we 
meet again ? '* 

I lifted my eyes to his. My heart beat with suffocating 
quickness, and thoughts were in my brain that threatened 
to overwhelm my small remaining stock of self-control and 
make of me nothing but a creature of tears and passion. 
I moved my lips in an effort to speak, but no soimd came 
from them. 

" Do not be afraid," — he continued, in the same quiet 
tone — " It is true that we must be careful now as in the 
past we were careless, — ^but perfect comprehension of each 
other rests with ourselves. May I go on ? " 

I gave a mute sign of assent. There was a rough craig 
near us, curiously shaped like a sort of throne and canopy, 
the canopy being formed by a thickly overhanging mass 
of rock and heather, and here he made me sit down, placing 
himself beside me. From this point we commanded a view 
of the head of the lake and the great mountain which closes 
and dominates it, — ^and which now began to be illumined 
with a strange witch-like glow of orange and purple, while 
a thin mist moved slowly across it like the folds of a 
ghostly stage curtain preparing to rise and display the first 
scene of some great drama. 

" Sometimes," he then said, — " it happens, even in the 
world of cold and artificial convention, that a man and 
woman are brought together who, to their own immediate 
consciousness, have had no previous acquaintance with each 
other, and yet with the lightest touch, the swiftest glance 
of an eye, a million vibrations are set quivering in then?, 



X70 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

like harp-strings struck by the hand of a master and re- 
sponding each to each in throbbing harmony and perfect 
tune. They do not know how it happens — they only fed 
it is. Then, nothing — I repeat this with emphasis — nothing 
can keep them apart. Soul rushes to soul, — heart leaps to 
heart, — ^and all form and ceremony, custom and usage crum- 
ble into dust before the power that overwhelms them. 
These sudden storms of etheric vibration occur every day 
among the most ordinary surroundings and with the most 
unlikely persons, and Society as at present constituted 
frowns and shakes its head, or jeers at what it cannot under- 
stand, calling such impetuosity folly, or worse, while re- 
maining wilfully Uind to the fact that in its strangest aspect 
it is nothing but the assertion of an Eternal Law. Morfe- 
over, it is a law that cannot be set aside or broken with 
impimity. Just as the one point of vibration sympathetically 
strikes the other in the system of wireless telegraphy, so, 
despite millions and millions of intervening currents and 
lines of divergence, the immortal soul-spark strikes its kin- 
dred fire across a waste of worlds until they meet in the 
compelling flash of that God's Message called Love! " 

He paused — ^then went on slowly : — 

" No force can turn aside one from the other, — ^nothing 
can intervene — not because it is either romance or reality, 
but simply because it is a law. You understand?" 

I bent my head silently. 

" It may be thousands of years before such a meeting 
is consummated," — he continued — " For thousands of years 
are but hours in the eternal countings. Yet in those thou- 
sands of years what lives must be lived! — ^what lessons 
must be learned! — what sins committed and expiated! — 
what precious time lost or found ! — ^what happiness missed 
or wasted ! " 



VISIONS 171 

His voice thrilled — and again he took my hand and held 
it gently clasped. 

** You must believe in yourself alone," — ^he said, — " if 
any lurking thought suggests a disbelief in me! It is quite 
natural that you should doubt me a little. You have studied 
long and deeply — ^you have worked hard at problems which 
puzzle the strongest man's brain, and you have succeeded 
in many things because you have kept what most men man- 
age to lose when grappling with Science, — ^Faith. You 
have always studied with an uplifted heart — uplifted to- 
wards the things unseen and eternal. But it has been a 
lonely heart, too, — ^as lonely as mine ! " 

A moment's silence followed, — ^ silence that seemed 
heavy and dark, like a passing cloud, and instinctively I 
looked up to see if indeed a brooding storm was not above 
us. A heaven of splendid colour met my gaze — ^the whole 
sky was lighted with a glory of gold and blue. But below 
this flaming radiance there was a motionless mass of grey 
vapour, hanging square as it seemed across the face of the 
lofty mountain at the head of the lake, like a great canvas 
set ready for an artist's pencil and prepared to receive the 
creation of his thought. I watched this in a kind of ab- 
sorbed fascination, conscious that the warm hand holding 
mine had strengthened its close grasp, — ^when suddenly 
something sharp and brilliant, like the glitter of a sword or 
a forked flash of lightning, passed before my eyes with 
a dizzying sensation, and the lake, the mountains, the whole 
landscape, vanished like a fleeting mirage, and in all the 
visible air only the heavy curtain of mist remained. I made 
an eflFort to move — ^to speak — in vain! I thought some 
sudden illness must have seized me — ^yet no ! — for the half- 
swooning feeling that had for a moment unsteadied my 
nerves had already passed— and I was calm enough. Yet 



1/2 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

I saw more plainly than I have ever seen anything in visiUe 
Nature, a slowly moving, slowly passing panorama of 
scenes and episodes that presented themselves in marvellous 
outline and colouring, — ^pictures that were gradually un- 
rolled and spread out to my view on the grey background 
of that impalpable mist which like a Shadow hung between 
myself and impenetrable Mystery, and I realised to the 
full that an eternal record of every life is written not only 
in sound, but in light, in colour, in tune, in mathematical 
proportion and harmony, — and that not a word, not a 
thought, not an action is forgotten ! 

4e 4e « 



A vast forest rose before me. I saw the long shadows 
of the leafy boughs flung thick upon the sward and the 
wild tropical vines hanging rope-like from the intertwisted 
stems. A golden moon looked warmly in between the giant 
branches, flooding the darkness of the scene with rippling 
radiance, and within its light two human beings walked, — 
a man and woman — their arms round each other, — their 
faces leaning close together. The man seemed pleading 
with his companion for some favour which she withheld, 
and presently she drew herself away from him altogether 
with a decided movement of haughty rejection. I could 
not see her face, — ^but her attire was regal and splendid, 
and on her head there shone a jewelled diadem. Her lover 
stood apart for a moment with bent head — ^then he threw 
himself on his knees before her and caught her hand in an 
evident outburst of passionate entreaty. And while they 
stood thus together, I saw the phantom-like figure of an- 
other woman moving towards them — she came directly into 
the foreground of the picture, her white garments clinging 



VISIONS 173 

round her, her fair hair flung loosely over her shoulders, 

and her whole demeanour expressing eagerness and fear. 

As she approached, the man sprang up from his knees and, 

with a gesture of fury, drew a dagger from his belt and 

plunged it into her heart! I saw her reel back from the 

.blow — I saw the red blood well up through the whiteness 

of her clothing, and as she turned towards her murderer, 

with a last look of appeal, I recognised my own face in hers! 

— and in his the face of S ant oris! I uttered a cry, — or 

thought I uttered it — a darkness swept over me — ^and the 

vision vanished ! 

* * * 



Another vivid flash struck my eyes, and I found myself 
looking upon the crowded thoroughfares of a great city. 
Towers and temples, palaces and bridges, presented them- 
selves to my gaze in a network of interminable width and 
architectural splendour, moving and swaying before me 
like a wave glittering with a thousand sparkles uplifted to 
the light. Presently this unsteadiness of movement resolved 
itself into form and order, and I became, as it were, one 
unobserved spectator among thousands, of a scene of pic- 
turesque magnificence. It seemed that I stood in the 
enormous audience hall of a great palace, where there were 
crowds of slaves, attendants and armed men, — on all sides 
arose huge pillars of stone on which were carved the winged 
heads of monsters and fabulous gods, — and looming out 
of the shadows I saw the shapes of four giant Sphinxes 
which guarded a throne set high above the crowd. A lam- 
bent light played quiveringly on the gorgeous picture, grow- 
ing more and more vivid as I looked, and throbbing with 
colour ana motion, — ^and I saw that on th^ tivtotxa. l\vftx% 



174 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

sat a woman crowned and veiled, — ^her right hand held a 
sceptre blazing with gold and gems. Slaves dad in cos- 
tumes of the richest workmanship and design abased them- 
selves on either side of her, and I heard the dash of brazen 
cymbals and war-like music, as the crowd of people surged 
and swayed, and murmured and shouted, all apparently 
moved by some special excitement or interest. Suddenly I 
perceived the object on which the general attention was 
fixed — ^the swooning body of a man, heavily bound in chains 
and lying at the foot of the throne. Beside him stood a 
tall black slave, clad in vivid scarlet and masked, — ^this 
sinister-looking creature held a gleaming dagger uplifted 
ready to strike, — and as I saw this, a wild yearning arose 
in me to save the threatened life of the bound and helpless 
victim. If I could only rush to defend and drag him away 
from impending peril, I thought! — ^but no! — I was forced 
to stand helplessly watching the scene, with every fibre of 
my brain burning with pent-up anguish. At this moment, 
the crowned and veiled woman on the throne suddenly rose 
and stood upright, — ^with a commanding gesture she 
stretched out her glittering sceptre — ^the sign was given! 
Swiftly the dagger gleamed through the air and struck its 
deadly blow straight home! I turned away my eyes in 
shuddering horror, — ^but was compelled by some invincible 
power to raise them again, — and the scene before me glowed 
red as with the hue of blood — I saw the slain victim, — ^the 
tumultuous crowd — and above all, the relentless Queen who, 
with one movement of her little hand, had swept away a 
life, — and as I looked upon her loathingly, she threw back 
her shrouding golden veil. My own face looked full at me 
from under the jewelled arch of her sparkling diadem— 
ah, wicked soul! — I wildly cried — ^pitiless Queen! — ^then, 
as they lifted the body of the murdered man, his livid 



VISIONS 175 

ooontenance was turned towards me, and I saw again the 
face of Santoris ! Dumb and despairing I sank as it were 
within myself, chilled with inexplicable misery, and I heard 
for the first time in this singular pageant of vision a Voice 
— slow, calm, and thrilling with infinite sadness : 

" A life for a life! "—it said—" The old eternal law!— 
a life for a life! There is nothing taken which shall not 
be returned again — ^nothing lost which shall not be found 
life for a life!" 

Then came silence and utter darkness. 

4c 4( 4( 



Slowly brightening, slowly widening, a pale radiance like 
the earliest glimmer of dawn stole gently on tny eyes when 
I again raised them. I saw the waving curve of a wide, 
sluggishly flowing river, and near it a temple of red granite 
stood surrounded with shadowing foliage and bright cltmips 
of flowers. Huge palms lifted their fronded heads to the 
sky, and on the edge of the quiet stream there loitered a 
group of girls and women. One of these stood apart, sad 
and alone, the others looking at her with something of pity 
and ccom. Near her was a tall upright column of black 
basalt, as it seemed, bearing the sculptured head of a god. 
The features were calm and strong and reposeful, expressive 
of dignity, wisdom and power. And as I looked, more 
people gathered together — I heard strains of solemn music 
pealing from the temple close by — ^and I saw the solitary 
woman draw herself farther apart and almost disappear 
among the shadows. The light grew brighter in the east, — 
the sun shot a few advancing rays upward, — suddenly the 
door of the temple was thrown open, and a long procession 
of priests carrying flaming tapers and atttwAfcdi Xyj Xscrj^ ve^ 



176 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

white garments and crowned with flowers made their skm 
and stately way towards the column with the god4ike Head 
upon it and began to circle round it, chanting as they walked, 
while the flower-crowned boys swung golden censers to and 
fro, impregnating the air with rich perfume. The people 
ill knelt — ^and still the priests paced round and round, chant- 
ing and murmuring prayers, — ^till at last the great sun lifted 
the edge of its glowing disc above the horizon, and its rays 
springing from the east like golden arrows, struck the brow 
of the Head set on its basalt pedestal. With the sudden 
glitter of this morning glory the chanting ceased, — the pro- 
cession stopped; and one priest, tall and commanding of 
aspect, stepped forth from the rest, holding up his hands to 
enjoin silence. And then the Head quivered as with life,— 
its lips moved — ^there was a rippling sound like the chord 
of a harp smitten by the wind, — ^and a voice, full, sweet 
and resonant, spoke aloud the words : — 

" I face the Sunrise ! " 

With a shout of joy priests and people responded : 

" We face the Sunrise ! " 

And he who seemed the highest in authority, raising bis 
arms invokingly towards heaven, exclaimed : 

" Even so, O Mightiest among the Mighty, let us ever 
remember that Thy Shadow is but part of Thy Light, — that 
Sorrow is but the passing humour of Joy — and that Death is 
but the night which dawns again into Life! We face the 
Sunrise ! " 

Then all who were assembled joined in singing a strange 
half-barbaric song and chorus of triumph, to the strains of 
which they slowly moved off and disappeared like shapes 
breathed on a mirror and melting away. Only the tall high 
priest remained, — and he stood alone, waiting, as it were, 
for something eagerly expected and desired. And pres- 



VISIONS 177 

tody the woman who had till now remained hidden among 
the shadows of the surrounding trees, came swiftly for- 
ward. She was very pale — ^her eyes shone with tears — ^and 
again I saw my own face in hers. The priest turned quickly 
to greet her, and I distinctly heard every word he spoke as 
he caught her hands in his own and drew her towards him. 
' " Everjrthing in this world and the next I will resign," 
he said — '' for love of thee ! Honour, dignity and this poor 
earth's renown I lay at thy feet, thou most beloved of 
women ! What other thing created or imagined can be com- 
pared to the joy of thee? — ^to the sweetness of thy lips, the 
softness of thy bosom — ^the love that trembles into confes- 
sion with thy smile ! Imprison me but in thine arms and I 
¥rill count my very soul well lost for an hour of love with 
thee! Ah, deny me not! — turn me not away from thee 
again ! — ^love comes but once in life — such love as ours ! — 
early or late, but once ! " 

She looked at him with tender passion and pity — b, look 
in which I thankfully saw there was no trace of pride, re- 
sentment or affected injury. 

" Oh, my beloved ! " she answered, and her voice, plain- 
tive and sweet, thrilled on the silence like a sob of pain — 
•* Why wilt thou rush on destruction for so poor a thing 
as I am? Knowest thou not, and wilt thou not remember 
that, to a priest of thy great Order, the love of woman is 
forbidden, and the pimishment thereof is death? Already 
the people view thee with suspicion and me with scorn — for- 
bear, O dearest, bravest soul ! — ^be strong ! " 

" Strong ? " he echoed — " Is it not strong to love ? — ^ay, 
the very best of strength! For what avails the power of 
man if he may not bend a woman to his will? Child, 
wherever love is there can be no death, but only life! Love 
is as the ever-flowing torrent of eternity m tkj n^\x^v— *Cm^ 



178 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

ptdse of everlasting /outh and victory ! What are the fooh 
ish creeds of man compared with this one Truth of Nature 
— ^Love! Is not the Deity Himself the Supreme Lover?— 
and wouldst thou have me a castaway from His holiest 
ordinance? Ah no! — come to me, my beloved !— soul of 
my soul — inmost core of my heart! Come to me in the 
silence when no one sees and no one hears— come 
when " 

He broke off, checked by her sudden smile and look of 
rapture. Some thought had evidently, like a ray of light, 
cleared her doubts away. 

" So be it ! " she said — " I give thee all myself from 
henceforth ! — I will come ! " 

He uttered an exclamation of relief and joy, and drew 
her closer, till her head rested on his breast and her loos- 
ened hair fell in a shower across his arms. 

" At last ! " he murmured — " At last ! Mine — all mine 
this tender soul, this passionate heart ! — ^mine this exquisite 
life to do with as I will! O crown of my best manhood .< — 
when wilt thou come to me? '* 

She answered at once without hesitation. 

** To-night ! " she said — " To-night, when the moon rises, 
meet me here in this very place, — ^this sacred grove where 
Memnon hears thy vows to him broken, and my vows con- 
secrated to thee! — and as I live I swear I will be all thine! 
But now — leave me to pray ! '* 

She lifted her head and looked into his adoring eyes, — 
then kissed him with a strange, grave tenderness as though 
bidding him farewell, and with a gentle gesture motioned 
him away. Elated and flushed with joy, he obeyed her 
sign, and left her, disappearing in the same phantom-like 
way in which all the other figures in this weird dream- 
drama had made their exit. She watched him go with 



VISIONS i:^ 

a wistful yearning gaze — then in apparent utter desperation 
she threw herself on her knees before the impassive Head 
<m its rocky pedestal and prayed aloud : 

" O hidden and unknown God whom we poor earthly 
creatures s)rm6olise ! — give me the strength to love unself- 
ishly — the patience to endure uncomplainingly! Thou, 
Heart of Stone, temper with thy coldest wisdom my poor 
throbbing heart of flesh ! Help me to quell the tempest in 
my soul, and let me be even as thou art — inflexible, im- 
movable, — save when the sun strikes music from thy dream^ 
ing brows and tells thee it is day ! Forgive, O great God, 
forgive the fault of my beloved! — sl fault which is not his, 
but mine, merely because I live and he hath found me fair, 
— let all be well for him, — ^but for me let nothing evermore 
be either well or ill — ^and teach me — even me — ^to face the 
Sunrise!" 

Her voice ceased — ^, mist came before me for a moment 
— and when this cleared, the same scene was presented to 
me under the glimmer of a ghostly moon. And she who 
looked so like myself, lay dead at the foot of the great 
Statue, her hands clasped on her breast, her eyes closed, 
her mouth smiling as in sleep, while beside her raved and 
wept her priestly lover, invoking her by every tender name, 
clasping her lifeless body in his arms, covering her face 
with useless passionate kisses, and calling her back with 
wild grief from the silence into which her soul had fled. 
And I knew then that she had put all thought of self aside 
in a sense of devotion to duty, — ^she had chosen what she 
imagined to be the only way out of difficulty, — ^to save 
the honour of her lover she had slain herself. But — was 
it wise ? Or foolish ? This thought pressed itself insistently 
home to my mind. She had given her life to serve a mis- 
taken creed, — she had bowed to the convtTv\\otss» oi "^ \«co? 



i8o THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

porary code of human law — ^yet — surely God was above all 
strange and unnatural systems built up by man for his ovm 
immediate convenience, vanity or advantage, and was not 
Love the nearest thing to God? And if those two souls 
were destined lovers, could they be divided, even by their 
own rashness ? These questions were curiously urged upon 
my inward consciousness as I looked again upon the poor 
fragile corpse among the reeds and palms of the sluggishly 
flowing river, and heard the clamorous despair of the man 
to whom she might have been joy, inspiration and victory 
had not the world been then as it is not now — the man, who 
as the light of the moonbeams fell upon him, showed me 
in his haggard and miserable features the spectral likeness 
of Santoris. Was it right, I asked myself, that the two 
perfect lines of a mutual love should be swept asunder?— 
or if it was, as some might conceive it, right according to 
certain temporary and conventional views of * rightness,' 
was it possible to so sever them ? Would it not be well if 
we all occasionally remembered that there is an eternal law 
of harmony between souls as between spheres ? — and that if 
we ourselves bring about a divergence we also bring about 
discord? And again, — ^that if discord results by our inter- 
meddling, it is against the law, and must by the working of 
natural forces be resolved into concord again, whether such 
resolvance take ten, a hundred, a thousand or ten thou- 
sand years? Of what use, then, is the struggle we are for 
ever making in our narrow and limited daily lives to resist 
the wise and holy teaching of Nature? Is it not best to 
yield to the insistence of the music of life while it sounds 
in our ears ? For everything must come round to Nature's 
way in the end — her way being God's way, and God's way 
the only way! So I thought, as in half -dreaming fashion 
I watched the vision of the dead woman and her despairing 



VISIONS. i8i 

lover fade into the impenetrable shadows of mystery veil- 
ing the record of the light beyond. 



Presently I became conscious of a deep murmuring sound 
tike the subdued hum of many thousands of voices, — ^and 
lifting my eyes I saw the wide circular sweep of a vast 
arena crowded with people. In the centre, and well to the 
front of the uplifted tiers of seats, there was a gorgeous 
pavilion of gold, draped with gaudy coloured silk and himg 
with festoons of roses, wherein sat a heavily-built, brutish- 
looking man royally robed and crowned, and wearing jewels 
in such profusion as to seem literally clothed in flashing 
points of light. Beautiful women were gathered round 
him, — boys with musical instrimients crouched at his feet — 
attendants stood on every hand to minister to his slightest 
call or signal, — ^and all eyes were fixed upon him as upon 
aome worshipped god of a nation's idolatry. I felt and 
knew that I was looking upon the * shadow-presentment ' 
of the Roman tyrant Nero; and I wondered vaguely how 
it chanced that he, in all the splendour of his wild and 
terrible career of wickedness, should be brought into this 
phantasmagoria of dream in which I and One Other alone 
seemed to be chiefly concerned. There were strange noises 
in my ears, — ^the loud din of trumpets — ^the softer sound 
of harps played enchantingly in some far-off distance — ^the 
ever-increasing loud buzzing of the voices of the multitude 
*— and then all at once the roar as of angry wild beasts in 
impatience or pain. The time of this vision seemed to be 
late afternoon — I thought I could see a line of deep rose 
colour in a sky where the sun had lately set — ^the flare of 
torches glimmered all round the arena and beyond it strik- 



i82 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

ing vivid brilliancy from the jewels on Nero's breast and 
throwing into strong relief the groups of soldiers and peo- 
ple immediately around him. I perceived now that the 
centre of the arena, previously empty, had become the one 
spot on which the looks of the people began to turn— one 
woman stood there all alone, clad in white, her arms 
crossed on her breast. So still was she, — so apparently 
unconscious of her position, that the mob, ever irritated 
by calmness, grew suddenly furious, and a fierce cry arose: 
— " Ad leones ! Ad leones ! " The great Emperor stirred 
from his indolent, half -reclining position and leaned for- 
Mrard with a sudden look of interest on his lowering fea- 
tures, — ^and as he did so a man attired in the costume of a 
gladiator entered the arena from one of its side doors and 
with a calm step and assured demeanour walked up to the 
front of the royal dais and there dropped on one knee. 
Then quickly rising he drew himself erect and waited, his 
eyes fixed on the woman who stood as immovably as a 
statue, apparently resigned to some untoward fate. And 
again the vast crowd shouted " Ad leones ! Ad leones ! " 
There came a heavy grating noise of drawn bolts and bars 
— ^the sound of falling chains — ^then a savage animal roar — 
and two lean and ferocious lions sprang into the arena, 
lashing their tails, their manes bristling and their eyes 
aglare. Quick as thought, the gladiator stood in their path 
— ^and I swiftly recognised the nature of the ' sport ' that 
had brought the Emperor and all this brave and glittering 
show of humanity out to watch what to them was merely 
a ' sensation ' — ^the life of a Christian dashed out by the 
claws and fangs of wild beasts — a common pastime, all 
unchecked by either the mercy of man or the intervention 
of God ! I understood as clearly as if the explanation had 
been volunteered to me in so many words, that the woman 



VISIONS 183 

who awaited her death so immovably had only one chance 
of rescue, and that chance was through the gladiator, who, 
to please the humour of the Emperor, had been brought 
hither to combat and frighten them off their intended victim, 
— the reward for him, if he succeeded, being the woman 
herself. I gazed with aching, straining eyes on the won- 
derful dream-spectacle, and my heart thrilled as I saw one 
of the lions stealthily approach the solitary martyr and 
prepare to spring. Like lightning, the gladiator was upon 
the famished brute, fighting it back in a fierce and horrible 
contest, while the second lion, pouncing forward and bent 
on a similar attack, was similarly repulsed. The battle 
between man and beasts was furious, prolonged and terri- 
ble to witness — ^and the excitement became intense. " Ad 
leones ! Ad leones ! " was now the imiversal wild shout, 
rising ever louder and louder into an almost frantic clamour. 
The woman meanwhile never stirred from her place — she 
might have been frozen to the ground where she stood. 
She appeared to notice neither the lions who were ready 
to devour her, nor the gladiator who combated them in 
her defence — ^and I studied her strangely impassive figrje 
with keen interest, waiting to see her face, — for I in- 
stinctively felt I should recognise it. Presently, as though 
in response to my thought, she turned towards me, — and 
as in a mirror I saw my own reflected personality again as 
I had seen it so many times in this chain of strange episodes 
with which I was so singularly concerned though still 
an outside spectator. Between her Shadow-figure and what 
I felt of my own existing Self there seemed to be a pale 
connecting line of light, and all my being thrilled towards 
her with a curiously vague anxiety. A swirling mist came 
before my eyes suddenly, — and when this cleared I saw 
that the combat was over — ^the lions lay dead and weltering 



l84 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

in their blood on the trampled sand of the arena, and the 
victorious gladiator stood near their prone bodies triun»- 
phant, amid the deafening cheers of the crowd. Wreaths 
of flowers were tossed to him from the people, who stood 
up in their seats all round the great circle to hail him with 
their acclamations, and the Emperor, lifting his unwieldji 
body from under his canopy of gold, stretched out his hand 
as a sign that the prize which the dauntless combatant had 
fought to win was his. He at once obeyed the signal^ 
but now the woman, hitherto so passive and immovaUe, 
stirred. Fixing upon the gladiator a glance of the deepest 
reproach and anguish, she raised her arms wamingly as 
though forbidding him to approach her — and then fell face 
forward on the ground. He rushed to her side, and kneel- 
ing down sought to lift her; — ^then suddenly he sprang erect 
with a loud cry : — 

" Great Emperor ! I asked of thee a living love I — and 
this is dead ! " 

A ripple of laughter ran through the crowd. The Em- 
peror leaned forward from his throne and smiled. 

" Thank your Christian God for that ! " he said — ** Our 
pagan deities are kinder ! They give us love for love ! '* 

The gladiator gave a wild gesture of despair and turned 
his face upward to the light — the face of S ant oris! 

" Dead! — dead! " — he cried — " Of what use then is life? 
Dark are the beloved eyes !— cold is the generous heart ! — 
the fight has been in vain — ^my victory mocks me with its 
triumph ! The world is empty ! " 

Again the laughter of the populace stirred the air. 

" Go to, man ! " — and the rough voice of Nero sotmded 
harshly above the murmurous din — " The world was never 
the worse for one woman the less ! Wouldst thou also he 
a Christian? Take heed! Our lions arc still hungry I 



VISIONS 185 

Thy love is dead, 'tis true, but we have not killed her ! She 
trusted in her God, and He has robbed thee of thy lawful 
possession. Blame Him, not us ! Go hence, with thy laurels 
bravely won I Nero commends thy prowess ! " 

He flung a purse of gold at the gladiator's feet — and 
then I saw the whole scene melt away into a confused mass 
of light and colour till all was merely a pearl-grey haze 
floating before my eyes. Yet I was hardly allowed a mo- 
ment's respite before another scene presented itself like a 
painting upon the curtain of vapour which hung so per- 
sistently in front of me — z, scene which struck a closer 
chord upon my memory than any I had yet beheld. 



The cool, spacious interior of a marble-pillared hall or 
studio slowly disclosed itself to my view — it was open to 
an enchanting vista of terraced gardens and dark undulat* 
ing woods, and gay parterres of brilliant blossom were 
spread in front of it like a wonderfully patterned carpet of 
intricate and exquisite design. Within it was all the pic- 
turesque grace and confusion of an artist's surroundings; 
and at a great easel, working assiduously, was one who 
seemed to be the artist himself, his face turned from me 
towards his canvas. Posed before him, in an attitude of 
indolent grace, was a woman, arrayed in clinging 
diaphanous drapery, a few priceless jewels gleaming here 
and there like stars upon her bosom and arms — ^her hair, 
falling in loose waves from a band of pale blue velvet 
fastened across it, was of a warm brown hue like an autumn 
leaf with the sun upon it, and I could see that whatever 
she might be according to the strictest canons of beauty, 
the man who was painting her portrait considered her more 



i86 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

than beautiftil. I heard his voice, in the low, murmurous 
yet perfectly distinct way in which all sounds were conveyed 
to me in this dream pageant — ^it was exactly as if persons 
on the stage were speaking to an audience. 

*' If we could understand each other," — he said — '* I 
think all would be well with us in time and eternity ! " 

There was a pause. The picturesque scene before me 
seemed to glow and gather intensity as I gazed. 

" If you could see what is in my heart," — ^he continued 
— " you would be satisfied that no greater love was ever 
given to woman than mine for you ! Yet I would not say 
I give it to you — for I have striven against it." He 
paused — ^and when he spoke again his words were so dis- 
tinct that they seemed close to my ears. 

" It has been wrung out of my very blood and soul — ^I 
can no more resist it than I can resist the force of the air 
by which I live and breathe. I ought not to love you, — 
you are a joy forbidden to me — and yet I feel, rightly 
speaking, that you are already mine — ^that you belong to 
me as the other half of myself, and that this has been so 
from the beginning when God first ordained the mating 
of souls. I tell you I feel this, but cannot explain it, — and 
I grasp at you as my one hope of joy! — I cannot let you 

go!" 

She was silent, save for a deep sigh that stirred her 
bosom under its folded lace and made her jewels sparkle 
like sunbeams on the sea. 

" If I lose you now, having known and loved you," he 
went on — " I lose my art. Not that this would matter " 

Her voice trembled on the air. 

" It would matter a great deal " — she said, softly — '* to 
the world ! " 

"The world!" he echoed— "What need I care for it? 



VISIONS 187 

Nothing seems of value to me where you are not — I am 
nerveless, senseless, hopeless without you. My inspiration 
*-such as it is — comes from you " 

She moved restlessly — ^her face was turned slightly away 
so that I could not see it. 

" My inspiration comes from you/' — he repeated — ** The 
tender look of your eyes fills me with dreams which might 
— ^I do not say would — ^realise themselves in a life's re- 
nown — ^but all this is perhaps nothing to you. What, after 
all, can I offer you? Nothing but love! And here in 
Florence you could command more lovers than there are 
days in the week, did you choose — ^but people say you are 
untouchable by love even at its best. Now I " 

Here he stopped abruptly and laid down his brush, look- 
ing full at her. 

" I,'* he continued — " love you at neither best nor worst, 
but simply and entirely with all of myself — ^all that a man 
can be in passionate heart, soul and body ! " 

(How the words rang out! I could have sworn they 
were spoken close beside me and not by dream-voices in 
a dream!) 

"If you loved me — ^ah God ! — what that would mean ! 
If you dared to brave everything — if you had the courage 
of love to break down all barriers between yourself and 
me! — ^but you will not do this — ^the sacrifice would be too 
great — ^too unusual " 

"You think it would?" 

The question was scarcely breathed. A look of sudden 
amazement lightened his face — ^then he replied, gently — 

" I think it would ! Women are impulsive, — ^generous to 
a fault — ^they give what they afterwards regret — ^who can 
blame them ! You have much to lose by such a sacrifice as 
I should ask of you — I have all to gam. 1 vcvm^V t^A. V^ 



i88 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

selfish. But I love you! — ^and your love would be to mi 
more than the hope of Heaven ! " 

And now strange echoes of a modem poet's rhyme be* 
came mingled in my dream : 

"You have chosen and clung to the chance they sent yoiH* 

Life sweet as perfume and pure as prayer. 
But will it not one day in heaven repent you ? 

Will they solace you wholly, the days that were? 
Will you lift up your eyes between sadness and blisi^ 
Meet mine and see where the great love is? 
And tremble and turn and be changed? — Content you; 

The gate is strait; I shall not be there. 

Yet I know this well ; were you once sealed mine» 
Mine in the blood's beat, mine in the breath. 

Mixed into me as honey in wine, 
Not time that sayeth and gainsayeth, 

Nor all strong things had severed us then, 

Not wrath of gods nor wisdom of men. 

Nor all things earthly nor all divine. 
Nor joy nor sorrow, nor life nor death ! " 

I watched with a deepening thrill of anxiety the scene 
in the studio, and my thoughts centred themselves upon the 
woman who sat there so quietly, seeming all unmoved by 
the knowledge that she held a man's life and future fame 
in her hands. The artist took up his palette and brushes 
again and began to work swiftly, his hand trembling a 
little. 

You have my whole confession now ! " — ^he said — 

You know that you are the eyes of the world to me — 
the glory of the sun and the moon! All my art is in youf 
smile — all my life responds to your touch. Without you 
I am — can be nothing — Cosmo de Medicis " 

At this name a kind of shadow crept upon the scenes 
together with a sense of cold. 



it 



VISIONS 189 

"Cosmo de Medicis" — he repeated, slowly — "my 
patron, would scarcely thank me for the avowals I have 
made to his fair ward!— one whom he intends to honour 
with his own alliance. I am here by his order to paint the 
portrait of his future bride! — ^not to look at her with the 
eyes of a lover. But the task is too difficult *' 

A little sound escaped her, like a smothered cry of pain. 
He turned towards her. 

" Something in your face," — ^he said — ^" a touch of long- 
ing in your sweet eyes, has made me risk telling you all, so 
that you may at least choose your own way of love and 
life — for there is no real life without love." 

Suddenly she rose and confronted him — ^and once again, 
as in a magic mirror, I saw my own reflected personality. 
There were tears in her eyes, — ^yet a smile quivered on her 
mouth. 

" My beloved ! " — she said — ^and then paused, as if afraid. 

A look of wonder and rapture came on his face like 
the light of sunrise, and / recognised the now familiar fea- 
tures of S ant oris! Very gently he laid down his palette 
and brushes and stood waiting in a kind of half expectancy, 
half doubt. 

" My beloved ! " she repeated — " Have you not seen ? — 
do you not know? O my genius! — ^my angel! — ^am I so 
hard to read ? — so difficult to win ? " 

Her voice broke in a sob — ^she made an uncertain step 
forward, and he sprang to meet her. 

" I love you, love you ! " — ^she cried, passionately — " Let 
the whole world forsake me, if only you remain! I am 
all yours ! — do with me as you will ! " 

He caught her in his arms — straining her to his heart 
with all the passion of a long-denied lover's embrace — their 
lips met — and for a brief space they were lost in that sudden 



I90 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

and divine rapture that comes but once in a lifetime,— 
when like a shivering sense of cold the name again was 
whispered : 

" Cosmo de Medicis ! " 

A shadow fell across the scene, and a woman, dark and 
heavy- featured, stood like a blot in the sunlit brightness of 
the studio, — a woman very richly attired, who gazed fixedly 
at the lovers with round, suspicious eyes and a sneering 
smile. The artist turned and saw her — ^his face changed 
from joy to a pale anxiety — ^yet, holding his love with one 
arm, he flung defiance at her with uplifted head and fearless 
demeanour. 

" Spy ! " — ^he exclaimed — ^' Do your worst ! Let us have 
an end of your serpent vigilance and perfidy ! — ^better deadi 
than the constant sight of you! What! Have you not 
watched us long enough to make discovery easy ? Do your 
worst, I say, and quickly ! " 

The cruel smile deepened on the woman's mouth, — she 
made no answer, but simply raised her hand. In immedi- 
ate obedience to the signal, a man, clad in the Florentine 
dress of the sixteenth century, and wearing a singular 
collar of jewels, stepped out from behind a curtain, at- 
tended by two other men, who, by their dress, were, or 
seemed to be, of inferior rank. Without a word, these 
three threw themselves upon the unarmed and defenceless 
painter with the fury of wild animals pouncing on prey. 
There was a brief and breathless struggle — three daggers 
gleamed in air — b, shriek rang through the stillness — ^an- 
other instant and the victim lay dead, stabbed to the heart, 
while she who had just clung to his living body and felt 
the warmth of his living lips against hers, dropped on her 
knees beside the corpse with wild wailings of madness and 
despair. 



VISIONS 191 



€€ 



Another crime on your soul, Cosmo de Medicis ! " — ^she 
cried — ^'^ Another murder of a nobler life than your own! 
—may Heaven curse you for it ! But you have not parted 
my love from me — ^no ! — ^you have but united us for ever ! 
We escape you and your spies — ^thus ! " 

And snatching a dagger from the hand of one of the 
assassins before he could prevent her, she plunged it into 
her own breast. She fell without a groan, self-slain, — 
and I saw, as in a mist of breath on a mirror, the sudden 
horror on the faces of the men and the one woman who 
were left to contemplate the ghastly deed they had com-^ 
mitted. And then — noting as in some old blurred picture 
the features of the man who wore the collar of jewels, I 
fdt that I knew him — ^yet I could not place him in any 
comer of my immediate recognition. Gradually this strange 
scene of cool white marble vastness with its brilliant vista 
of flowers and foliage under the bright Italian sky, and the 
betrayed lovers lying dead beside each other in the pres- 
ence of their murderers, passed away like a floating cloudy 
^-and the same slow, calm Voice I had heard once before 
now spoke again in sad, stem accefits : 

'* Jealousy is cruel as the grave ! — ^the coals thereof are 
coals of fire which hath a most vehement flame! Many 
waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it 
— ^if a man would give all his substance for love it ^ould 
be utterly contemned ! " 



I closed my eyes,— or thought I closed them — a vague 
terror was growing upon me, — ^ terror of myself und a 
still greater terror of the man beside me who held my hand, 
•— ^yet something prevented me from turning my head to 



192 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

look at him, and another still stronger emotion possessed 
me with a force so overpowering that I could hardly 
breathe under the weight and pain of it, but I could give it 
no name. I could not think at all — ^and I had ceased even 
to wonder at the strangeness and variety of these visions 
or dream-episodes full of colour and sound which succeeded 
each other so swiftly. Therefore it hardly seemed r^ 
markable to me when I saw the heavy curtain of mist which 
hung in front of my eyes suddenly reft asunder in many 
places and broken into a semblance of the sea. 

4c 4c 4c 

4c 4c 

4c 

A wild sea ! Gloomily grey and grand in its onsweeping 
wrath, its huge billows rose and fell like moving moimtains 
convulsed by an earthquake, — flight and shadow combated 
against each other in its dark abysmal depths and among 
its toppling crests of foam — I could hear the savage hiss 
and boom of breakers dashing themselves to pieces on some 
unseen rocky coast far away, — ^and my heart grew cold 
with dread as I beheld a ship in full sail struggling against 
the heavy onslaught of the wind on that heaving wilderness 
of waters, like a mere feather lost from a sea-gull's wing. 
Flying along like a hunted creature she staggered and 
plunged, her bowsprit dipping into deep chasms from which 
she was tossed shudderingly upward again as in light con* 
tempt, and as she came nearer and nearer into my view 
I could discern some of the human beings on board — ^thc 
man at the wheel, with keen eyes peering into the gathering 
gloom of the storm, his hair and face dashed with spray, — 
the sailors, fighting hard to save the rigging from being 
torn to pieces and flung into the sea, — ^then — a sudden huge 
wave swept her directly in front of me, and I saw the 



VISIONS 193 

two distinct personalities that had been so constantly pre- 
sented to me during this strange experience, — the man 
with the face of Santoris — the woman with my own face 
so truly reflected that I might have been looking at myself 
in a mirror. And just now the resemblance to us both 
was made more close and striking than it had been in any 
of the previous visions — that is to say, the likenesses of 
ourselves were given almost as we now existed. The man 
held the woman beside him closely clasped with one arm, 
8tq>porting her and himself, with the other thrown round 
one cf the shaking masts. I saw her look up to him with 
the light of a great and passionate love in her eyes. And 
I heard him say: — 

"The end of sorrow and the beginning of joy! You 
cure not afraid ? " 

** Afraid ? " And her voice had no tremor — ^" With 
you?'' 

He caught her closer to his heart and kissed her nol 
once but many times in a kind of mingled rapture and 
despair. 

" This is death, my beloved ! '' — ^he said. 

And her answer pealed out with tender certainty. " No ! 
— ^not death, but life! — and love! " 

A cry went up from the sailors — sl cry of heartrending 
agony, — a mass of enormous billows rolling steadily on 
together hurled themselves like giant assassins upon the 
frail and helpless vessel and engulfed it — it disappeared 
with awful swiftness, like a small blot on the ocean sucked 
down into the whirl of water — ^the vast and solemn grey- 
ness of the sea spread over it like a pall — it was a nothing, 
gone into nothingness! I watched one giant wave rise in 
a crystalline glitter of dark sapphire and curl over the spot 
where all that human life and human love had disa^^^esxed^ 



194 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 



md then — ^there came upon my soul a sudden sense of 
intense calm. The great sea smoothed itself out before my 
eyes into fine ripples which dispersed gradually into mist 
again — and almost I found my voice — almost my lips 
opened to ask: "What means this vision of the sea?" when 
a sound of music checked me on the verge of utterance— 
the music of delicate strings as of a thousand harps in 
heaven. I listened with every sense caught and entranced 
— ^my gaze still fixed half unseeingly upon the heavy grey 
film which hung before me — ^that mystic sky-canvas upon 
which some Divine painter had depicted in lifelike form 
and colour scenes which I, in a sort of dim strangeness, 
recognised yet could not understand — ^and as I looked a 
rainbow, with every hue intensified to such a burning depth 
of brilliancy that its light was almost intolerably dazzling, 
sprang in a perfect arch across the cloud! I uttered an 
involuntary cry of rapture — for it was like no earthly rain- 
bow I had ever seen. Its palpitating radiance seemed to 
penetrate into the very core and centre of space — ^aerially 
delicate yet deep, each separate colour glowed with the 
fervent splendour of a heaven undreamed of by mere mor- 
tality and too glorious for mortal description. It was the 
shining repentance of the storm, — ^the assurance of joy 
after sorrow — ^the passionate love of the soul rising upwards 
in perfect form and beauty after long imprisonment in 
ice-bound depths of repression and solitude — it was any- 
thing and everything that could be thought or imagined of 
divinest promise ! 

My heart beat quickly — ^tears sprang to my eyes — ^and 
almost unconsciously I pressed the kind, strong hand that 
held mine. It trembled ever so slightly — ^but I was too 

absorbed in watching that triumphal arch across the sky to 

* 

heed the movement. By degrees the lustrous hues began to 



VISIONS 195 

paile very slowly, and almost imperceptibly they grew lamter 
and fainter till at last all was misty grey as before, save 
in one place where there were long rays of light like the 
falling of silvery rain. And then came strange rapidly 
passing scenes as of cloud forms constantly shifting and 
changing, in all of which I discerned the same two person- 
alities so like and yet so unlike ourselves who were the 
dumb witnesses of every episode, — ^but everything now 
passed in absolute silence — ^there was no mysterious music, 
— ^the voices had ceased — ^all was mute. 

Suddenly there came a change over the face of what 
I thought the sky — ^the clouds were torn asunder as it were 
to show a breadth of burning amber and rose, and I beheld 
the semblance of a great closed Gateway barred across as 
with gold. Here a figure slowly shaped itself, — ^the figure 
of a woman who knelt against the closed barrier with hands 
clasped and uplifted in pitiful beseeching. So strangely 
desolate and solitary was her aspect in all that heavenly 
brilliancy that I could almost have wept for her, shut out 
as she seemed from some mystic unknown glory. Round 
her swept the great circle of the heavens — ^beneath her 
and above her were the deserts of infinite space — and she, 
a fragile soul rendered immortal by quenchless fires of love 
and hope and memory, hovered between the deeps of im- 
measurable vastness like a fluttering leaf or flake of snow ! 
My heart ached for her — ^my lips moved unconsciously in 
prayer : 

" O leave her not always exiled and alone ! " I mur- 
mured, inwardly — " Dear God, have pity ! Unbar the gate 
and let her in ! She has waited so long ! '* 

The hand holding mine strengthened its clasp, — and the 
warm, close pressure sent a thrill through my veins. Al- 
most I would have turned to look at my com^^.\v\o\v--As2A 



196 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

I not suddenly seen the closed gateway in the heavens 
begin to open slowly, allowing a flood of golden radiance 
to pour out like the steady flowing of a broad stream. The 
kneeling woman's figure remained plainly discernible, but 
seemed to be gradually melting into the light which sur- 
rounded it. And then — something — I know not what— 
shook me down from the pinnacle of vision, — ^hardly aware 
of my own action, I withdrew my hand from my com- 
panion's, and saw — ^just the solemn grandeur of Loch 
Coruisk, with a deep amber glow streaming over the sum- 
mit of the mountains, flung upward by the setting sun! 
Nothing more! — I heaved an involuntary sigh — and at 
last, with some little hesitation and dread, looked full at 
Santoris. His eyes met mine steadfastly — ^he was very pale. 
So we faced each other for a moment — ^then he said, 
quietly : — 

" How quickly the time has passed ! This is the best mo- 
ment of the sunset, — ^when that glory fades we shall have 
seen all!'' 



IX 



DOUBTFUL DESTINY 

His voice was calm and conventional, yet I thought I 
detected a thrill of sadness in it which touched me to a kind 
of inexplicable remorse, and I turned to him quickly, hardly 
conscious of the words I uttered. 

** Must the glory fade ? " — I said, almost pleadingly — 
" Why should it not remain with us ? " 

He did not reply at once. A shadow of something like 
sternness clouded his brows, a^d I began to be afraid — 
yet afraid of what? Not of him — but of myself, lest I 
should unwittingly lose all I had gained. But then the 
question presented itself — ^What had I gained? Could I 
explain it, even to myself ? There was nothing in any way 
tangible of which to say — " I possess this," or " I have 
secured that," — for, reducing all circumstances to a prosaic 
level, all that I knew was that I had met in my present com- 
panion a man who had a singular, almost compelling at- 
tractiveness, and with whose personality I seemed to be 
familiar; also, that under some power which he might 
possibly have exerted, I had in an unexpected place and at 
an unexpected time seen certain visions or * impressions * 
which might or might not be the working of my own brain 
under a temporary magnetic influence. I was fully aware 
that such things could happen — ^and yet — I was not by any 
means sure that they had so happened in this case. And 
while I was thus hurriedly trying to think out the problem, 
he replied to my question. 






198 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

" That depends on ourselves," — ^he said — ** On you per- 
haps more than any other/' 

I looked up at him wonderingly. 

" On me ? '' I echoed. 

He smiled a^ little. 

" Why, yes ! A woman always decides." 

I turned my eyes again towards the sky. Long lines 
of delicate pale blue and green were now intermingled with 
the amber light of the after-glow, and the whole scene was 
one of indescribable grandeur and beauty. 
I wish I could understand," — I murmured. 
Let me help you," — ^he said, gently. " Possibly I caa 
make things clearer for you. You are just now under the 
spell of your own psychic impressions and memories. You 
think you have seen strange episodes — ^these are nothing 
but pictures stored far away back in the cells of your spirit- 
ual brain, which (through the medium of your present 
material brain) project on your vision not only present- 
ments and reflections of past scenes and events, but which 
also reproduce the very words and sounds attending those 
scenes and events. That is all. Loch Coruisk has shown 
you nothing but itself in varying effects of light and cloud 
— ^there is no mystery here but the everlasting mystery of 
Nature in which you and I play our several parts. What 
you have seen or heard I do not know — for each individual 
experience is and always must be different. All that I 
am fully conscious of is, that our having met and our being 
here together to-day is, as it were, the mending of a broken 
chain. But it rests with you — ^and even with me — ^to break 
it once more if we choose." 

I was silent, not because I could not but because I dared 
not speak. All my life seemed suddenly to hang on the 
point of a hair's-breadth of possibility. 



DOUBTFUL DESTINY 199 



U 



I think," — ^he continued in the same quiet voice — '' that 
just now we may let things take their ordinary course. 
You and I " — ^here he paused, and impelled by some secret 
emotion I lifted my eyes to his. Instinctively, and with a 
rush of feeling, we stretched out our hands to each other. 
He clasped mine in his own, and stooping his head kissed 
them tenderly. " You and I," — he went on — " have met 
before in many a phase of life and on many a plane of 
thought — and I believe we know and realise this. Let us 
be satisfied so far — ^and if destiny has anything of happi- 
ness or wisdom in store for us let us try to assist its ful- 
filment and not stand in the way." 

I found my voice suddenly. 

" But — if others stand in the way ? " — I said. 

He smiled. 

" Surely it will be our own fault if we allow them to 
assume such a position ! " he answered. 

I left my hands in his another moment. The fact that 
he held them gave me a sense of peace and security. 

" Sometimes on a long walk through field and forest," 

I said, softly — " one may miss the nearest road home. And 

one is glad to be told which path to follow " 

it 



Yes," — ^he interrupted me — '' One is glad to be told ! " 
His eyes were bent upon me with an enigmatical ex- 
pression, half commanding, half appealing. 

" Then, will you tell me " I began. 

" All that I can ! " he said, drawing me a little closer to- 
wards him — ^'^AU that I may! And you — ^you must tell 



me " 



" I ! What can I tell you ? " and I smiled—" I know 
nothing ! " 

" You know one thing which is all things," — ^he answered 
— " But for that I must still wait." 



900 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

He let go my hands and turned away, shading his eyes 
from the glare of gold which now sprea.d far and wide 
over the heavens, turning the sullen waters of Loch 
Coruisk to a tawny orange against the black purple of 
the surrounding hills. 

" I see our men," — ^he then said, in his ordinary tone, 
** They are looking for us. We must be going." 

My heart beat quickly. A longing to speak what I hardly 
dared to think, was strong upon me. But some inward 
restraint gripped me as with iron — ^and my spirit beat itself 
like a caged bird against its prison bars in vain. I left my 
rocky throne and heather canopy with slow reluctance, and 
he saw this. 

" You are sorry to come away," — ^he said, kindly, and 
with a smile — '* I can quite understand it. It is a beau* 
tiful scene." 

I stood quite still, looking at him. A host of recollec- 
tions began to crowd upon me, threatening havoc to my 
self-control. 

"Is it not something more than beautiful?" I asked, 
and my voice trembled in spite of myself — " To you as well 
as to me ? " 

He met my earnest gaze with a sudden deeper light in 
his own eyes. 

I " Dear, to me it is the beginning of a new life ! " — ^hc 
said — " But whether it is the same to you I cannot say. 
I have not the right to think so far. Come ! " 

A choking sense of tears was in my throat as I moved 
on by his side. Why could I not speak frankly and tell 
him that I knew as well as he did that now there was no 
life anywhere for me where he was not? But — had it 
come to this ? Yes, truly ! — it had come to this ! Then was 
it a real love that I felt, or merely a blind obedience to 



DOUBTFUL DESTINY 201 

some hypnotic influence? The doubt suggested itself like 
a whisper from some evil spirit, and I strove not to listen. 
Presently he took my hand in his as before, and guided 
me caref idly over the slippery boulders and stones, wet with 
the overflowing of the mountain torrent and the underlying 
morass which warned us of its vicinity by the quantity of 
bog-myrtle growing in profusion everywhere. Almost in 
silence we reached the shore where the launch was in waiting 
for us, and in silence we sat together in the stem as the 
boat cut its swift way through little waves like molten 
gold and opal, sparkling with the iridescent reflections of the 
sun's after-glow. 

" I see Mr. Harland's yacht has returned to her moor- 
ings," — he said, after a while, addressing his men, " When 
did she come back ? " 

" Immediately after you left, sir," — ^was the reply. 

I looked and saw the two yachts — ^the ' Dream * and the 
* Diana,' anchored in the widest part of Loch Scavaig — 
the one with the disfiguring funnels that make even the most 
magnificent steam yacht unsightly as compared with a sail- 
ing vessel, — ^the other a perfect picture of lightness and 
grace, resting like a bird with folded wings on the glittering 
surface of the water. My mind was disturbed and be- 
wildered, — I felt that I had journeyed through immense 
distances of space and cycles of time during that brief 
excursion to Loch Coruisk, — ^and as the launch rushed on- 
ward and we lost sight of the entrance to what for me 
had been a veritable Valley of Vision, it seemed that I had 
lived through centuries rather than hours. One thing, 
however, remained positive and real in my experience, and 
this was the personality of Santoris. With each moment 
that passed I knew it better — ^the flash of his blue eyes — ^his 
yudden fleeting anile — ^the turn of his head — ^the very ges- 



2Q2 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

ture of his hand, — all these were as familiar to me as the 
reflection of my own face in a mirror. And now there 
was no wonderment mingled with the deepening recogni- 
tion, — I fotmd it quite natural that I shotdd know him 
.well, — indeed, it was tp me evident that I had known him 
always. What troubled me, however, was a subtle fear 
that crept insidiously through my veins like a shuddering 
cold, — a terror lest something to which I could give no 
name, should separate us or cause us to misunderstand each 
other. For the psychic lines of attraction between two 
human beings are finer than the finest gossamer and can 
be easily broken and scattered even though they may or 
must be brought together again after long lapses of time. 
But so many opportunities had already been wasted, I 
thought, through some recklessness or folly, either on his 
part or mine. Which of us was to blame ? I looked at him 
half in fear, half in appeal, as he sat in the boat with his 
head turned a little aside from me, — ^he seemed grave and 
preoccupied. A sudden thrill of emotion stirred my heart 
— ^tears sprang to my eyes so thickly that for a moment I 
could scarcely see the waves that glittered and danced on 
all sides like millions of diamonds. A change had swept 
over my life, — ^ change so great that I was hardly able 
to bear it. It was too swift, too overpowering to be calmly 
considered, and I was glad when we came alongside the 
* Dream ' and I saw Mr. Harland on deck, waiting for us 
at the top of the companion ladder. 

'' Well ! " he called to me—" Was it a good sunset ? " 
*' Glorious ! '* I answered him — " Did you see nothing of 
it?" 

" No. I slept soundly, and only woke up when Brayle 
came over to explain that Catherine had taken it into her 
head to have a short cruise, that he had humoured her 



DOUBTFUL DESTINY flcg 

accordingly, and that they had just come bade to an- 
chorage." 

By this time I was standing beside him, and Santoris 
joined us. 

" So your doctor came to look after you," — ^he said» with 
a smile — *' I thought he would not trust you out of his sight 
too long ! " 

**What do you mean by that?" asked Harland — then 
his face lightened and he laughed — " Well, I must own you 
have been a better physician than he for the moment — it 
is months since I have been so free from pain." 

" I'm very glad," — Santoris answered — " And now 
would you and your friend like to take the launch bade 
to your own yacht, or will you stay and dine with me ? " 

Mr. Harland thought a moment. 

** I'm afraid we must go " — ^he said, at last, with obvious 
reluctance — " Captain Derrick went back with Brayle. You 
see, Catherine is not strong, and she has not been quite 
herself — and we must not leave her alone. To-morrow, 
if you are willing, I should like to try a race with our two 
yachts in open sea — electricity against steam! What do 
you say ? " 

" With pleasure ! " and Santoris looked amused — '^ But 
as I am sure to be the winner, you must give me the privi- 
lege of entertaining you all to dinner afterwards. Is that 
settled ? " 

" Certainly ! — ^you are hospitality itself, Santoris ! " and 
Mr. Harland shook him warmly by thr hand — *' What time 
shall we start the race ? " 
Suppose we say noon ? " 
Agreed ! " 

We then prepared to go. I turned to Santoris and in 
a quiet voice thanked him for his kindness in escorting 



it 



ao4 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

me to Loch Coruisk, and for the pleasant afternoon we 
had passed. The conventional words of common cour- 
tesy seemed to myself quite absurd, — ^however, they had 
to be uttered, and he accepted them with the usual conven- 
tional acknowledgment. When I was just about to descend 
the companion ladder, he asked me to wait a moment, and 
going down to the saloon, brought me the bunch of Ma- 
donna lilies I had found in that special cabin which, as he 
had said, was destined * for a princess.' 

" You will take these, I hope ? " he said, simply. 

I raised my eyes to his as I received the white blossoms 
from his hand. There was something indefinable and fleet- 
ing in his expression, and for a moment it seemed as if 
we had suddenly become strangers. A sense of loss and 
pain affected me, such as happens when someone to whom 
we are deeply attached assumes a cold and distant air for 
which we can render no explanation. He turned from me 
as quickly as I from him, and I descended the companion 
ladder followed by Mr. Harland. In a few seconds we 
had put several boat-lengths between ourselves and the 
* Dream,' and a rush of foolish tears to my eyes blurred 
the figure of Santoris as he lifted his cap to us in courteous 
adieu. I thought Mr. Harland glanced at me a little in- 
quisitively, but he said nothing-— and we were soon on 
board the ' Diana,' where Catherine, stretched out in a 
deck chair, watched our arrival with but languid interest 
Dr. Brayle was beside her, and looked up as we drew near 
with a supercilious smile. 

" So the electric man has not quite made away with 
you," — ^he said, carelessly — " Miss Harland and I had our 
doubts as to whether we should ever see you again ! " 

Mr. Harland's fuzzy eyebrows drew together in a marked 
frown of displeasure. 



DOUBTFUL DESTINY 205 



M 



Indeed I " he ejaculated, drily — " Well, you need have 
liad no fears on that score. The ' electric man/ as you call 
Mr. Santoris, is an excellent host and has no sinister de- 
signs on his friends." 

"Are you quite sure of that?" and Brayle, with an 
elaborate show of courtesy, set chairs for his patron and for 
me near Catherine — " Derrick tells me that the electric 
appliances on board his yacht are to him of a terrifying 
character and that he would not risk passing so much as 
one night on such a vessel ! " 

Mr. Harland laughed. 

" I must talk to Derrick," — he said — then, approaching 
his daughter, he asked her kindly if she was better. She 
replied in the affirmative, but with some little pettishness. 

" My nerves are all unstrung," — she said — ^" I think that 
friend of yours is one of those persons who draw all vitality 
out of everybody else. There are such people, you know, 
father ! — ^people who, when they are getting old and feeble, 
go about taking stores of fresh life out of others." 

He looked amused. 

" You are full of fancies, Catherine," — ^he said — " And 
no logical reasoning will ever argue you out of them. San- 
toris is all right. For one thing, he gave me great relief 
from pain to-day." 

" Ah I How was that ? " — ^and Brayle looked up sharply 
with sudden interest. 

"I don't know how," — ^replied Harland, — *'A drop or 
two of harmless-looking fluid worked wonders for me — 
and in a few moments I felt almost well. He tells me my 
illness is not incurable." 

A curious expression difficult to define flitted over 
Brayle's face. 

Yon had better take care," he said, curtly — " Invalids 



€i 



206 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

should never try experiments. I'm surprised that a man 
in your condition should take any drug from the hand of 
a stranger." 

" Most dangerous ! " interpolated Catherine, feebly— 
•* How could ypu, father ? " 

" Well, Santoris isn't quite a stranger," — said Mr. Har- 
land — '* After all, I knew him at college " 

" You think you knew him," — ^put in Brayle — ^^ He may 
not be the same man." 

" He is the same man," — ^answered Mr. Harland, rather 
testily — " There are no two of his kind in the world." 

Brayle lifted his eyebrows with a mildly affected air of 
surprise. 

" I thought you had your doubts " 

" Of course ! — I had, and have my doubts concermng 
everybody and everything" — said Mr. Harland, "And I 
suppose I shall have them to the end of my days. I have 
sometimes doubted even your good intentions towards 



me. 



A dark flush overspread Brayle's face suddenly, and as 
suddenly paled. He laughed a little forcedly. 

" I hardly think you have any reason to do so," he said. 

Mr. Harland did not answer, but turning round, ad- 
dressed me. 

"You enjoyed yourself at Loch Coruisk, didn't you?'* 

" Indeed I did ! " I replied, with emphasis — ^" It was a 
lovely scene ! — never to be forgotten." 

" You and Mr. Santoris would be sure to get on well 
together," said Catherine, rather crossly — *' * Birds of a 
feather,' you know ! " 

I smiled. I was too much taken up with my own 
thoughts to pay attention to her evident ill-humour. I was 
tware that Dr. Brayle watched me furtively, and with a 



DOUBTFUL DESTINY 207 

8i]iq>icious air, and there was a curious feeling of constraint 
in the atmosphere that made me feel I had somehow dis« 
pleased my hostess, but the matter seemed to me too trifling 
to consider, and as soon as the conversation became general 
I took the opportunity to slip away and get down to my 
cabin, where I locked the door and gave myself up to the 
freedom of my own meditations. They were at first be- 
wildered and chaotic — but gradually my mind smoothed 
itself out like the sea I had looked upon in my vision, — 
and I began to arrange and connect the various incidents 
of my strange experience in a more or less coherent form. 
According to psychic consciousness I knew what they all 
meant, — ^but according to merely material and earthly rea- 
soning they were utterly incomprehensible. If I listened 
to the explanation offered by my inner self, it was this : — 
That Rafel Santoris and I had known each other for ages, 
—longer than we were permitted to remember, — ^that the 
brain-pictures, or rather soul-pictures, presented to me were 
only a few selected out of thousands which equally con- 
cerned us, and which were stored up among eternal records, 
— and that these few were only recalled to remind me of 
circumstances which I might erroneously think were all 
entirely forgotten. If, on the other hand, I preferred to 
accept what would be called a reasonable and practical solu- 
Ijtion of the enigma, I would say : — That, being imaginative 
and sensitive, I had been easily hypnotised by a stronger 
will than my own, and that for his amusement, or because 
he had seen in me the possibility of a ' test case,' Santoris 
had tried his power upon me and forced me to see what- 
ever he chose to conjure up in order to bewilder and perplex 
me. But if this were so, what could be his object? If I 
were indeed an utter stranger to him> why should he take 
this trouble? I found myself harassed by anxiety and 



208 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

dragged between two opposing influences-— one m^ch m* 
pelled me to yield myself to the deep sense of exquisite 
happiness, peace and consolation that swept over my spirit 
like the touch of a veritable benediction from heaven,— 
the other which pushed me back against a hard wall of 
impregnable fact and bade me suspect my dawning joy as 
though it were a foe. 

That night we were a curious party at dinner. Never 
were five human beings more oddly brought into contact 
and conversation with each other. We were absolutely 
opposed at all points; in thought, in feeling and in senti- 
ment. I could not help remembering the wonderful net- 
work of shining lines I had seen in that first dream of 
mine, — ^lines which were apparently mathematically de- 
signed to meet in reciprocal unity. The lines on this occa- 
sion between us five human beings were an almost visible 
tangle. I found my best refuge in silence, — and I listened 
in vague wonderment to the flow of senseless small talk 
poured out by Dr. Brayle, apparently for the amusement 
of Catherine, who on her part seemed suddenly possessed 
by a spirit of wilfulness and enforced gaiety which moved 
her to utter a great many foolish things, things which she 
evidently imagined were clever. There is nothing perhaps 
more embarrassing than to hear a woman of mature years 
]giving herself away by the childish vapidness of her talk, 
and exhibiting not only a lack of mental poise, but also utter 
tactlessness. However, Catherine rattled on, apd Dr. 
Brayle rattled with her, — ^Mr. Harland threw in occasional 
monosyllables, but for the most part was evidently caught 
in a kind of dusty spider's web of thought, and I spoke not 
at all unless spoken to. Presently I met Catherine's eye$ 
fixed upon me with a sort of round, half-maliciouf 
curiosity. 



DOUBTFUL DESTINY 209 

^ I thiidc your day's outing has done you good/' she said 
— " You look wonderfully well 1 " 

" I am well I " I answered her — " I have been well all the 
time/' 

" Yes, but you haven't looked as you look to-night/' she 
said — ** You have quite a transformed air ! " 

" Transformed ? " — ^I echoed, smiling — " In what way ? " 

Mr. Harland turned and surveyed me critically. 

" Upon my word, I think Catherine is right 1 " he said — 
** There is something different about you, though I cannot 
explain what it is ! " 

I felt the colour rising hotly to my face, but I endeav- 
oured to appear unconcerned. 

" You look," said Dr. Brayle, with a quick glance from 
his narrowly set eyes — " as if you had been through a happy 
experience." 

" Perhaps I have ! " I answered quietly — '* It has cer- 
tainly been a very happy day ! " 

" What is your opinion of Santoris ? " asked Mr. Har- 
land, suddenly — '* You've spent a couple of hours alone in 
his company, — ^you must have formed some idea." 

I replied at once, without taking thought. 

" I think him quite an exceptional man," I said — " Good 
and great-hearted, — and I fancy he must have gone through 
much difficult experience to make him what he is." 

" I entirely disagree with you," — said Dr. Brayle, quickly 
— " I've taken his measure, and I think it's a fairly correct 
one. I believe him to be a very clever and subtle charlatan, 
who affects a certain profound mysticism in order to give 
himself undue importance " 

There was a sudden clash. Mr. Harland had brought 
his clenched fist down upon the table with a force that 
made the glasses ring. 



210 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

" I won't have that, Brayle ! " he said, sharply — " I tell 
you I won't have it! Santoris is no charlatan — ^never was I 
— he won his honours at Oxford like a man — ^his conduct 
all the time I ever knew him was perfectly open and blame- 
less — ^he did no mean tricks, and pandered to nothing base 
— and if some of us fellows were frightened of him (as. 
we were) it was because he did everything better than we 
could do it, and was superior to us all. That's the truth !— 
and there's no getting over it. Nothing gives small minds 
a better handle for hatred than superiority — especially 
when that superiority is never asserted, but only felt." 

" You surprise me," — murmured Brayle, half apologet- 
ically—" I thought " 

" Never mind what you thought ! " said Mr. Harland, 
with a sudden ugly irritation of manner that sometimes 
disfigured him — " Your thoughts are not of the least im- 
portance ! " 

Dr- Brayle flushed angrily and Catherine looked surprised 
and visibly indignant. 

Father ! How can you be so rude ! " 
Am I rude ? " And Mr. Harland shrugged his shoul- 
ders indifferently — " Well ! I may be — ^but I never take a 
man's hospitality and permit myself to listen to abuse of 
him afterwards." 

I assure you " began Dr. Brayle, almost humbly. 

There, there! If I spoke hastily, I apologise. But 
Santoris is too straightforward a man to be suspected of 
any dishonesty or chicanery — ^and certainly no one on 
board this vessel shall treat his name with anything but 
respect." Here he turned to me — " Will you come on 
deck for a little while before bedtime, or would you rather 
rest?" 

I saw that he wished to speak to me, and willingly 









DOUBTFUL DESTINY 2il 

agreed to accompany him. Dimier being well over, we 
left the saloon, and were soon pacing the deck together 
under the light of a brilliant moon. Instinctively we both 
looked towards the ' Dream ' yacht, — ^there was no illumina- 
tion about her this evening save the usual lamp htmg in 
the rigging and the tiny gleams of radiance through her 
port-holes, — ^and her graceful masts and spars were like 
fine black pencillings seen against the bare slope of a motm- 
tain made almost silver to the summit by the singularly 
searching clearness of the moonbeams. My host paused in 
his walk beside me to light a cigar. 

" I'm sure you are convinced that Santoris is honest," 
he said — ^" Are you npt ? " 

" In what way should I doubt him ? " — ^I replied, eva- 
sively — " I scarcely know him ! " 

Hardly had I said this when a sudden self-reproach 
stung me. How dare I say that I scarcely knew one who 
had been known to me for ages ? I leaned against the deck 
rail looking up at the violet sky, my heart beating quickly. 
My companion was still busy lighting his cigar, but when 
this was done to his satisfaction he resumed. 

" True I You scarcely know him, but you are quick to 
form opinions, and your instincts are often, though perhaps 
not always, correct. At any rate, you have no distrust of 
him ? You like him ? " 

" Yes," — I answered, slowly — " I — I like him — ^very 
much." 

And the violet sky, with its round white moon, seemed 
to swing in a circle about me as I spoke — ^knowing that 
the true answer of my heart was love, not liking! — that 
love was the magnet drawing me irresistibly, despite my 
own endeavour, to something I could neither understand 
nor imagine. 



ti2 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

" I'm glad of that," said Mr. Harland — " It would have 
worried me a little if you had taken a prejudice or felt any 
antipathy towards him. I can see that Brayle hates him 
and has imbued Catherine with something of his own 
dislike." 

I was silent. 

" He is, of course, an extraordinary man," went on Mr. 
Harland — " and he is bound to offend many and to please 
few. He is not likely to escape the usual fate of unusual 
characters. But I think — indeed I may say I am sure— 
his integrity is beyond question. He has curious opinions 
about love and marriage — almost as curious as the fixed 
ideas he holds concerning life and death." 

Something cold seemed to send a shiver through my 
blood — ^was it some stray fragment of memory from the 
past that stirred me to a sense of pain? I forced myself 
to speak. 

" What are those opinions ? " I asked, and looking up 
in the moonlight to my companion's face I saw that it 
wore a puzzled expression — " Hardly conventional, I sup- 
pose ? " 

" Conventional ! Convention and Santoris are farther 
apart than the poles ! No — he doesn't fit into any accepted 
social code at all. He looks upon marriage itself as a tacit 
acknowledgment of inconstancy in love, and declares that 
if the passion existed in its truest form between man and 
woman any sort of formal or legal tie would be needless, — 
as love, if it be love, does not and cannot change. But it 
is no use discussing such a matter with him. The love 
that he believes in can only exist, if then, once in a thou- 
sand years! Men and women marry for physical attrac- 
tion, convenience, necessity or respectability, — ^and the legal 
bond is necessary both for their sakes and the worldly welf 



ii 



DOUBTFUL DESTINY 213 

fore of the children bom to them ; but love which is physical 
and transcendental together, — love that is to last through 
an imagined eternity of progress and fruition, this is a 
mere dream — a chimera! — ^and he feasts his brain upon it 
as though it were a nourishing fact. However, one 
must have patience with him — he is not like the rest of 
us." 

" No ! " I murmured — ^and then stood silently beside him 
watching the moonbeams ripple on the waters in wavy 
links of brightness. 

" When you married," I said, at last — " did you not 
marry for love?" 

He puffed at his cigar thoughtfully. 
Well, I hardly know," he replied, after a long pause, — 

Looking back upon everything, I rather doubt it ! I mar- 
ried as most men marry — on impulse. I saw a pretty face 
— ^and it seemed advisable that I should marry — ^but I 
cannot say I was moved by any great or absorbing passion 
for the woman I chose. She was charming and amiable in 
our courting days — ^as a wife she became peevish and 
querulous, — ^apt to sulk, too, — and she devoted herself al- 
most entirely to the most commonplace routine of life;— 
however, I had nothing to justly complain of. We lived 
five years together before her child Catherine was born,— 
and then she died. I cannot say that either her life or her 
death left any deep mark upon me — ^not if I am honest. 
I don't think I understand love— certainly not the love 
which Rafel Santoris looks upon as the secret key of the 
Universe." 

Instinctively my eyes turned towards the ' Dream ' at 
anchor. She looked like a phantom vessel in the moon- 
light. Again the faint shiver of cold ran through my veins 
like a sense of spiritual terror. If I should lose now what 



214 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

I had lost before I This was my chief thought, — my hidden 
shuddering fear. Did the whole responsibility rest with 
me, I wondered ? Mr. Harland laid his hand kindly on my 
arm. 

" You look like a wan spirit in the moonbeams/' he 
said — " So pale and wistful ! You are tired, and I am 
selfish in keeping you up here to talk to me. Go down 
to your cabin. I can see you are full of mystical dreams, 
and I am afraid Santoris has rather helped you to indulge 
in them. He is of the same nature as you are — ^inclined 
to believe that this life as we live it is only one phase of 
many that are past and of many yet to come. I wish I 
could accept that faith ! " 

" I wish you could 1 " I said — " You surely would be 
happier." 

" Should I ? " He gave a quick sigh. " I have my 
doubts ! If I could be young and strong and live through 
many lives always possessed of that same youth and 
strength, then there would be something in it — ^but to be 
old and ailing, no ! The Faust legend is an eternal truth— 
Life is only worth living as long as we enjoy it." 

" Your friend Santoris enjoys it ! " I said. 

" Ah ! There you touch me ! He does enjoy it, and 
why ? Because he is young ! Though nearly as old in years 
as I am, he is actually young ! That's the mystery of him ! 
Santoris is positively young — young in heart, young in 
thought, ambition, feeling and sentiment, and yet " 

He broke off for a moment, then resumed. 

" I don't know how he has managed it, but he told 
me long ago that it was a man's own fault if he allowed 
himself to grow old. I laughed at him then, but he has 
certainly carried his theories into fact. He used to declare 
that it was cither yourself or your friends that made you 



DOUBTFUL DESTINY 215 

<ddL * You will find/ he said, ' as you go on in years, that 
your family relations, or your professing dear friends, are 
those that will chiefly insist on your inviting and accepting 
the burden of age. They will remind you that twenty years 
ago you did so and so, — or that they have known you over 
thirty years— or they will tell you that considering your 
age you look well, or a thousand and one things of that 
kind, as if it were a fault or even a crime to be alive for 
a certain span of time, — ^whereas if you simply shook off 
such unnecessary attentions and went your own way, taking 
freely of the constant output of life and energy supplied 
to you by Nature, you would outwit all these croakers of 
feebleness and decay and renew your vital forces to the 
end. But to do this you must have a constant aim in life 
and a ruling passion.' As I told you, I laughed at him 
and at what I called his * folly,' but now — ^well, now — it's 
a case of * let those laugh who win.' " 

" And you think he has won ? " I as^ked. 

^* Most assuredly — I cannot deny it. But the secret of 
his victory is beyond me." 

" I should think it is beyond most people," I replied— 
" For if we could all keep ourselves young and strong we 
would take every means in our power to attain such hap- 
piness " 

* " Would we, though ? " And his brows knitted per- 

fplexedly — " If we knew, would we take the necessary 

trouble ? We will hardly obey a physician's orders for our 

good even when we are really ill — would we in health 

follow any code of life in order to keep well ? " 

I laughed. 

" Perhaps not I " I said — " I expect it will always be the 
same thing — ' Many are called, but few are chosen.' Good- 
night r* 



2i6 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

I held out my hand. He took it in his own and kept it 
a moment. 

" It's curious we should have met Santoris so soon after 
my telling you about him," he said — ** It's one of those 
coincidences which one cannot explain. You are very like 
him in some of your ideas — ^you two ought to be very 
great friends." 

"Ought we?" — ^and I smiled — ^*' Perhaps we shall be! 
Again, Good-night 1 " 

" Good-night 1 " 

And I left him to his meditations and went down to 
my cabin, only stopping for a moment to say good-night 
to Catherine and Dr. Brayle, who were playing bridge 
with Mr. Swinton and Captain Derrick in the saloon. Once 
in my room, I was thankful to be alone. Every extraneous 
thing seemed an intrusion or an impertinence, — ^thc 
thoughts that filled my brain were all absorbing, and went 
so far beyond the immediate radius of time and space 
that I could hardly follow their flight. I smiled as I 
imagined what ordinary people would think of the experi- 
ence through which I had passed and was passing. * Fool- 
ish fancies ! ' * Neurotic folly ! ' and other epithets of the 
kind would be heaped upon me if they knew — ^they, the 
excellent folk whose sole objects in life are so ephemeral 
as to be the things of the hour, the day, or the month 
merely, and who if they ever pause to consider eternal 
possibilities at all, do so reluctantly perhaps in church on 
Sundays, comfortably dismissing them for the more solid 
prospect of dinner. And of Love? What view of the 
divine passion do they take as a rule? Let the millions 
of mistaken marriages answer! Let the savage lusts and 
treacheries and cruelties of merely brutish and unspirit- 
ualised humanity bear witness? And how few shall be 



DOUBTFUL DESTINY 217 

found who have even the beginnings of the nature of true 
love — * the love of soul for soul, angel for angel, god for 
god ! ' — ^the love that accepts this world and its events as 
one phase only of divine and immortal existence — 3, phase 
of trial and proving in which the greater number fail to 
pass even a first examination! As for myself, I felt and 
iaiew that / had failed hopelessly and utterly in the past— 
and I stood now as it were on the edge of new circum- 
stances — in fear, yet not without hope, and praying that 
whatsoever should chance to me I might not fail again! 



STRANGE ASSOCIATIONS 

The next day the rax:e agreed upon was run in the calm* 
est of calm weather. There was not the faintest breath of 
wind, — ^the sea was still as a pond and almost oily in its 
smooth, motionless shining — ^and it was evident at first 
that our captain entertained no doubt whatever as to the 
' Diana/ with her powerful engines, being easily able to 
beat the aerial-looking * Dream ' schooner, which at noon- 
day, with all sails spread, came gliding up beside us til! 
she lay point to point at equal distance and at nearly equal 
measurement with our more cumbersome vessel. Mr. Har- 
land was keenly excited; Dr. Brayle was ready to lay any 
amount of wagers as to the impossibility of a sailing vessel, 
even granted she was moved by electricity, out-racing one 
of steam in such a dead calm. As the two vessels lay on 
the still waters, the * Diana ' fussily getting up steam, and 
the ' Dream ' with sails full out as if in a stiff breeze, 
despite the fact that there was no wind, we discussed the 
situation eagerly— or rather I should say my host and his 
people discussed it, for I had nothing to say, knowing 
that the victory was sure to be with Santoris. We were 
in very lonely waters, — ^there was room and to spare for 
plenty of racing, and when all was ready and Santoris 
saluted us from the deck, lifting his cap and waving it in 
response to a similar greeting from Mr. Harland and our 

Sl8 



STRANGE ASSOCIATIONS 219 

skipper, the signal to start was given. We moved oflf 
together, and for at least half an hour or more the ' Dream ' 
floated along in a kind of lazy indolence, keeping up with 
us easily, her canvas filled, and her keel cutting the water 
as if swept by a favouring gale. The result of the race 
was soon a foregone conclusion, — for presently, when well 
out on the mirror-like calm of the sea, the * Dream ' showed 
her secret powers in earnest, and flew like a bird with a 
silent swiftness that was almost incredible. Our yacht put 
on all steam in the effort to keep up with her, — in vain I 
On, on, with light grace and celerity her white sails car- 
ried her like the wings of a sea-gull, and almost before 
we could realise it she vanished altogether from our sight ! 
I saw a waste of water spread around us emptily like a 
wide circle of crystal reflecting the sky, and a sense of 
desolation fell upon me in the mere fact that we were 
temporarily left alone. We steamed on and on in the direc** 
tion of the vanished * Dream,'— our movements suggesting 
those of some clumsy four-footed animal panting its way 
after a bird, but unable to come up with her. 

" Wonderful ! " said Mr. Harland, at last, drawing a long 
breath, — " I would never have believed it possible ! " 

" Nor I ! " agreed Captain Derrick — " I certainly thought 
she would never have managed it in such a dead calm. For 
though I have seen some of her mechanism I cannot entirely 
understand it." 

Dr. Brayle was silent. It was evident that he was an- 
noyed — ^though why he should be so was not apparent. I 
myself was full of secret anxiety — for the ' Dream ' yacht's 
sudden and swift disappearance had filled me with a 
wretched sense of loneliness beyond all expression. Sup- 
pose she should not return! I had no clue to her where- 
abouts — ^and with the loss of Santoris I knew I should lose 



220 THE LIFE EVERLASTING . 

all that was worth having in my life. While theje misen^ 
ble thoughts were yet chasing each other through my brain 
I suddenly caught a far glimpse of white sails on the 
horizon. 

" She's coming back ! " I cried, enraptured, and heedless 
of what I said — " Oh, thank God I She's coming back I " 

They all looked at me in amazement. 

" Why, what's the matter with you ? " asked Mr. Har- 
iand» smiling. " You surely didn't think she was in any 
danger ? " 

My cheeks grew warm. 

" I didn't know — I could not imagine " I faltered, 

and turning away I met Dr. Brayle's eyes fixed upon mc 
with a gleam of malice in them. 

" I'm sure," he said, suavely, " you are greatly inter- 
ested in Mr. Santoris! Perhaps you have met each other 
before?" 

" Never ! " I answered, hurriedly, — ^and then checked my- 
self, startled and confused. He kept his narrow brown 
eyes heedfully upon me and smiled slightly. 

" Really ! I should have thought otherwise ! " 

I did not trouble myself to reply. The white sails of 
the * Dream ' were coming nearer and nearer over the 
smooth width of the sunlit water, and as she approached 
my heart grew warm with gratitude. Life was again a 
thing of joy! — ^the world was no longer empty! That ship 
looked to me like a beautiful winged spirit coming towards 
me with radiant assurances of hope and consolation, and 
I lost all fear, all sadness, all foreboding, as she gradually 
swept up alongside in the easy triumph she had won. Our 
crew assembled to welcome her, and cheered lustily. San- 
toris, standing on her deck, lightly acknowledged the sa- 
lutes which gave him the victory, and presently both otff 



STRANGE ASSOCIATIONS 221 

vessds were once more at their former places of anchor- 
age. When all the excitement was over, I went down to 
my cabin to rest for a while before dressing for the dinner 
on board the * Dream ' to which we were all invited, — 
and while I lay on my sofa reading, Catherine Harland 
knocked at my door and asked to come in. I admitted her 
^at once, and she flung herself into an arm-chair with a 
gesture of impatience. 

" I'm so tired of all this yachting ! " she said, peevishly. 
** It isn't amusing to me ! " 

** I'm very sorry! " I answered; — ^" If you feel like that, 
why not give it up at once ? " 

" Oh, it's father's whim ! " she said — " And if he makes 
up his mind there's no moving him. One thing, however, 

I'm determined to do — and that is " Here she stopped, 

looking at me curiously. 

I returned her gaze questioningly. 

" And that is— what ? " 

" To get as far away as ever we can from that terrible 
* Dream ' yacht and its owner ! " — she replied — " That man 
is a devil 1 " 

I laughed. I could not help laughing. The estimate 
she had formed of one so vastly her superior as Santoris 
struck me as more amusing than blamable. I am often 
accustomed to hear the hasty and narrow verdict of small- 
minded and imintelligent persons pronounced on men and 
women of high attainment and great mental ability ; there- 
fore, that she should show herself as not above the level 
of the common majority did not offend so much as it 
entertained me. However, my laughter made her sud- 
denly angry. 

*' Why do you laugh ? " she demanded. " You look quite 
pagan in that lace rest-gown — I suppose you call it a t^-sl* 



222 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

gown ! — with all your hair tumbling loose about you ! And 
that laugh of yours is a pagan laugh ! " 

I was so surprised at her odd way of speaking that for 
a moment I could find no words. She looked at me with 
a kind of hard disfavour in her eyes. 

" That's the reason/' — she went on — ^" why you find life 
agreeable. Pagans always did. They revelled in simshine 
and open air, and found all sorts of excuses for their own 
faults, provided they got some pleasure out of them. That's 
quite your temperament! And they laughed at serious 
things — ^just as you do! " 

The mirror showed me my own reflection, and I saw 
myself still smiling. 

" Do I laugh at serious things ? " I said. " Dear Miss 
Harland, I am not aware of it! But I cannot take Mr. 
Santoris as a * devil ' seriously ! " 

" He is ! " And she nodded her head emphatically— 
" And all those queer beliefs he holds — and you hold them 
too! — are devilish! If you belonged to the Church of 
Rome, you would not be allowed to indulge in such wicked 
theories for a moment." 

*' Ah ! The Church of Rome fortunately cannot control 
thought ! " — I said — " Not even the thoughts of its own 
children ! And some of the beliefs of the Church of Rome 
are more blasphemous and barbarous than all the paganism 
of the ancient world ! Tell me, what are my * wicked 
theories'?" 

" Oh, I don't know ! " she replied, vaguely and inconse- 
quently — " You believe there's no death — ^and you think 
we all make our own illnesses and misfortunes, — ^and I've 
heard you say that the idea of Eternal Punishment is 
absurd — so in a way you are as bad as father, who declares 
there's nothing in the Universe but gas and atoms — ^no 



STRANGE ASSOCIATIONS 223 

God and no anything. You really are quite as much of an 
atheist as he is! Dr. Brayle says so." 

I had been standing in front of her while she thus 
talked, but now I resumed my former reclining atti- 
tude on the sofa and looked at her with a touch of 
disdain. 

" Dr. Brayle says so 1 " — I repeated — " Dr. Brayle's opin- 
ion is the least worth having in the world! Now, if you 
really believe in devils, there's one for you ! " 

" How can you say so ? " she exclaimed, hotly — " What 
right have you " 

" How can he call me an atheist ? " I demanded — ^^ What 
right has he to judge me?" 

The flush died off her face, and a sudden fear filled her 
eyes. 

" Don't look at me like that ! " she said, almost in a 
whisper — " It reminds me of an awful dream I had the 
other night! "—She paused.—" Shall I tell it to you? " 

I nodded indifferently, yet watched her curiously the 
while. Something in her hard, plain face had become 
suddenly and tmpleasantly familiar. 

** I dreamed that I was in a painter's studio watching two 
murdered people die — s, man and a woman. The man was 
like Santoris — ^the woman resembled you! They had been 
stabbed, — and the woman was clinging to the man's body. 
Dr. Brayle stood beside me also watching — ^but the scene 
was strange to me, and the clothes we wore were all of 
some ancient time. I said to Dr. Brayle : * We have killed 
them ! ' and he replied : * Yes ! They are better dead than 
living ! ' It was a horrible dream ! — it seemed so real ! I 
have been frightened of you and of that man Santoris 
ever since ! " 

I could not speak for a moment. A recollection swept 



224 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

over me to which I dared not give utterance, — ^it seemed 
too improbable. 

" I've had nerves," she went on, shivering a little — " and 
that's why I say I'm tired of this yachting trip. It's be- 
coming a nightmare to me ! " 

I lay back on the sofa looking at her with a kind of 
pity. 

" Then why not end it ? " I said — " Or why not let me 
go away? It is I who have displeased you somehow, and 
I assure you I'm very sorry ! You and Mr. Harland have 
both been most kind to me — I've been your guest for nearly 
a fortnight, — ^that's quite sufficient holiday for me — ^put 
me ashore anywhere you like and I'll go home and get 
myself out of your way. Will that be any comfort to 
you?" 

" I don't know that it will," she said, with a short, 
querulous sigh — " Things have happened so strangely." 
She paused, looking at me — " Yes — ^you have the face of 
that woman I saw in my dream! — ^and you have always 
reminded me of " 

I waited eagerly. She seemed afraid to go on. 

*' Well ! " I said, as quietly as I could — " Do please finish 
what you were saying ! " 

" It goes back to the time when I first saw you," she 
continued, now speaking quickly as though anxious to get 
it over — " You will perhaps hardly remember the occasion. 
It was at that great art and society * crush ' in London 
where there was such a crowd that hundreds of people 
never got farther than the staircase. You were pointed 
out to me as a * psychist ' — and while I was still listening 
to what was being said about you, my father came up 
with you on his arm and introduced us. When I saw you 
I felt that your features were somehow familiar, — ^though 



STRANGE ASSOCIATIONS 225 

I cocdd not tell where I had met you before, — ^and I be- 
came very anxious to see more of you. In fact, you had 
a perfect fascination for me t You have the same f ascma* 
tion now,— only it is a fascination that terrifies me ! " 

I was silent. 

" The other night," she went on — *' when Mr. Santoris 
first came on board I had a singular impression that he was 
or had been an enemy of mine, — ^though where or how I 
could not say. It was this that frightened me, and made 
me too ill and nervous to go with you on that excursion 
to Loch Coruisk. And I want to get away from him! I 
never had such impressions before — ^and even now, — look- 
ing at you, — ^I feel there's something in you which is quite 
' uncanny,' — it troubles me ! Oh ! — I'm sure you mean me 
no harm — ^you are bright and amiable and adaptable and 
Ul that — ^but — Fm afraid of you I " 

" Poor Catherine ! " I said, very gently — ^' These are 
oierely nervous ideas! There is nothing to fear from me 
— no, nothing 1" For here she suddenly leaned forward 
and took my hand, looking earnestly in my face — '^ How 
Ban you imagine such a thing possible ? " 

" Are you sure ? " she half whispered — '^ When I called 
you 'pagan* just now I had a sort of dim recollection 
of a fair woman like you, — b, woman I seemed to know 
who was really a pagan! Yet I don't know how I knew 
her, or where I met her — sl woman who, for some reason 
or other, was hateful to me because I was jealous of her! 
These curious fancies have haunted my mind only since 
that man Santoris came on board, — ^and I told Dr. Brayle 
exactly what I felt." 

" And what did he say ? " I asked. 

'^ He said that it was all the work of Santoris, who was 
an evident professor of psychical imposture " 



226 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

I sprang up. 

" Let him say that to me! " I exclaimed — ** Let him dare 
to say it! and I will prove who is the impostor to hid 
face ! " 

She retreated from me with wide-open eyes of alarm. 

" Why do you look at me like that ? " she said. " Wf. 
didn't really kill you — except — ^in a dream ! " 

A sudden silence fell between us; something cold and 
shadowy and impalpable seemed to possess the very air. If 
by some supernatural agency we had been momentarily de- 
prived of life and motion, while a vast dark cloud, heavy 
with rain, had made its slow way betwixt us, the sense of 
chill and depression could hardly have been greater. 

Presently Catherine spoke again, with a little forced 
laugh. 

" What silly things I say ! '* she murmured — " You can 
see for yourself my nerves are in a bad state ! — I am alto- 
gether unstrung ! '* 

I stood for a moment looking at her, and considering 
the perplexity in which we both seemed involved. 

"If you would rather not dine with Mr. Santpris this 
evening," I said, at last, — " and if you think his presence 
has a bad effect on you, let us make some excuse not to 
go. I will willingly stay with you, if you wish me to 
do so." 

She gave me a surprised glance. 

" You are very unselfish," she said — " and I wish I were 
not so fanciful. It's most kind of you to offer to stay 
with me and to give up an evening's pleasure — for I sup- 
pose it is a pleasure? You like Mr. Santoris?" 

The colour rushed to my face in a warm glow. 

** Yes," I answered, turning slightly away from her— 
" I like him very much." 



STRANGE ASSOCIATIONS 227 



" And he likes you better than he likes any of us/' she 
said — '* In fact, I believe if it had not been for you, we 
should never have met him in this strange way " 

" Why, how can you make that out ? " I asked, smiling. 
" I never heard of him till your father spoke of him,^ 
and never saw him till " 

" Till when ? " — she demanded, quickly. 

" Till the other night," I answered, hesitatingly. 

She searched my face with questioning eyes. 

" I thought you were going to say that you, like myself, 
had some idea or recollection of having met him before,'* 
she said. " However, I shall not ask you to sacrifice your 
pleasure for me, — in fact, I have made up my mind to 
go to this dinner, though Dr. Brayle doesn't wish it." 

''Oh! Dr. Brayle doesn't wish it!" I echoed— "And 
why?" 

" Well, he thinks it will not be good for me — ^and — and 
he hates the very sight of Santoris ! " 

I said nothing. She rose to leave my cabin. 

" Please don't think too hardly of me ! " she said, plead- 
ingly, — " I've told you frankly just how I feel, — ^and you 
can imagine how glad I shall be when this yachting trip 
comes to an end." 

She went away then, and I stood for some minutes lost 
in thought. I dared not pursue the train of memories with 
which she had connected herself in my mind. My chief 
idea now was to find some convenient method of immedi- 
ately concluding my stay with the Harlands and leaving 
their yacht at some easy point of departure for home. And 
I resolved I would speak to Santoris on this subject and 
trust to him for a means whereby we should not lose sight 
of each other, for I felt that this was imperative. And my 
spirit rose up within me full of joy and ^T\dfc vcv Sx.^ Ve^r 



228 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

stinctive consciousness that I was as necessary to him as 
he was to me. 

It was a warm, almost sultry evening, and I was able 
to discard my serge yachting dress for one of soft white 
Indian silk, a cooler and more presentable costume for 
a dinner-party on board a yacht which was furnished with 
such luxury as was the ' Dream/ My little sprig of beD- 
heather still looked bright and fresh in the glass where 
I always kept it — ^but to-night when I took it in my hand 
it suddenly crumbled into a pinch of fine grey dust. This 
sudden destruction of what had seemed well-nigh inde- 
structible startled me for a moment till I began to think 
that after all the little bunch of blossom had done its work, 
— its message had been given — its errand completed. All 
the Madonna lilies Santoris had given me were as fresh 
as if newly gathered, — and I chose one of these with its 
companion bud as my only ornament. When I joined my 
host and his party in the saloon he looked at me with 
inquisitive scrutiny. 

" I cannot quite make you out,*' he said — " You look 
several years younger than you did when you came on 
board at Rothesay! Is it the sea air, the sunshine, or — 
Santoris ? '* 

" Santoris! " I repeated, and laughed. " How can it be 
Santoris ? '* 

" Well, he makes himself young," Mr. Harland answered 
— " And perhaps he may make others young too. There's 
no telling the extent of his powers ! " 

"Quite the conjurer!" observed Dr. Brayle, drily — 
** Faust should have consulted him instead of Mephis- 
topheles ! " 

" * Faust ' is a wonderful legend, but absurd in the fact 
that the old philosopher sold his soul to the Devil, merely 



STRANGE ASSOCIATIONS 229 

for the love of woman," — said Mr. Harland. " The joy, 
the sensation and the passion of love were to him supreme 
temptation and the only satisfaction on earth." 

Dr. Brayle's eyes gleamed. 

" But, after all, is this not a truth ? " he asked — " Is 
there anything that so completely dominates the life of a 
man as the love of a woman ? It is very seldom the right 
woman — ^but it is always a woman of some kind. Every- 
thing that has ever been done in the world, either good or 
evil, can be traced back to the influence of women on men 
— sometimes it is their wives who sway their actions, but 
it is far more often their mistresses. Kings and emperors 
are as prone to the universal weakness as commoners, — ^we 
have only to read history to be assured of the fact. What 
more could Faust desire than love ? " 

" Well, to me love is a mistake," said Mr. Harland, 
throwing on his overcoat carelessly — " I agree with Byron's 
dictum * Who loves, raves ! ' Of course it should be an ideal 
passion — ^but it never is. Come, are we all ready ? " 

We were — ^and we at once left the yacht in our owxl 
launch. Our party consisted of Mr. Harland, his daughter, 
myself, Dr. Brayle and Mr. Swinton, and with such in- 
different companions I imagined it would be difficult, if not 
impossible, to get even a moment with Santoris alone, to 
tell him of my intention to leave my host and hostess as 
soon as might be possible. However, I determined to make 
some effort in this direction, if I could find even the briefest 
opportimity. 

We made our little trip across the water from the * Di- 
ana ' to the ' Dream ' in the light of a magnificent sunset. 
Loch Scavaig was a blaze of burning colour, — and the skies 
above us were flushed with deep rose divided by lines of 
palest blue and warm gold. Santoris was vf^il\tv% otl \.V>st 



2?.o THE UFE EVERLASTING 



*%} 



deck to receive us, attended by his captain and one or t¥^ 
of the principals of the crew, but what attracted and 
charmed our eyes at the moment was a beautiful dark youth 
of some twelve or thirteen years of age, clad in Eastern 
dress, who held a basket full of crimson and white rose 
petals, which, with a graceftd gesture, he silently emptied 
at our feet as we stepped on board. I happened to be the 
first one to ascend the companion ladder, so that it looked 
as if this fragrant heap of delicate leaves had been thrown 
down for me to tread upon, but even if it had been so 
intended it appeared as though designed for the whole party. 
Santoris welcomed us with the kindly courtesy which al- 
ways distinguished his manner, and he himself escorted 
Miss Harland down to one of the cabins, there to take off 
the numerous unnecessary wraps and shawls with which 
she invariably clothed herself on the warmest day, — ^I fol- 
lowed them as they went, and he turned to me with a smile, 
saying : — 

" You know your room ? The same you had yesterday 
afternoon." 

I obeyed his gesture, and entered the exquisitely designed 
and furnished apartment which he had said was for a 
* princess,' and closing the door I sat down for a few min- 
utes to think quietly. It was evident that things were 
coming to some sort of crisis in my life, — ^and shaping to 
some destiny which I must either accept or avoid. Decisive 
action would rest, as I saw, entirely with myself. To avoid 
all difficulty, I had only to hold my peace and go my own 
way — refuse to know more of this singular man who seemed 
to be so mysteriously connected with my life, and return 
home to the usual safe, if dull, routine of my ordinary 
round of work and effort. On the other hand, to accept 
the dawning joy that seemed showering upon me like a 



STRANGE ASSOCIATIONS 231 

light from Heaven, was to blindly move on into the Un- 
known, — ^to trust imquestioningly to the secret spiritual 
promptings of my own nature and to give myself up wholly 
and ungrudgingly to a love which suggested all things yet 
promised nothing 1 Full of the most conflicting thoughts, 
I paced the room up and down slowly — the tall mirror re- 
flected my face and figure and showed me the startlingly 
faithful presentment of the woman I had seen in my strange 
series of visions, — ^the woman who centuries ago had 
fought against convention and custom, only to be foolishly 
conquered by them in a thousand ways, — the woman who 
had slain love, only that it should rise again and confront 
her with deathless eyes of eternal remembrance — ^the 
woman who, drowned at last for love's sake in a sea of 
wrath and trembling, knelt outside the barred gate of 
Heaven praying to enter in ! And in my mind I heard again 
the words spoken by that sweet and solemn Voice which 
had addressed me in the first of my dreams : 

" One rose from all the roses in Heaven ! One — fade- 
less and immortal— only one, but sufficient for all! One 
love from all the million loves of men and women — one, 
but enough for Eternity ! How long the rose has awaited 
its flowering — how long the love has awaited its fulfilment 
—only the recording angels know! Such roses bloom but 
once in the wilderness of space and time; such love comes 
but once in a Universe of worlds ! " 

And then I remembered the parting command : " Rise 
and go hence! Keep the gift God sends thee! — ^take that 
which is thine ! — ^meet that which hath sought thee sorrow- 
ing for many centuries ! Turn not aside again, neither by 
thine own will nor by the will of others, lest old errors pre- 
vail. Pass from vision into waking! — from night to day! 
•'—from seeming death to life ! — from loneliness to love !— • 



232 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

and keep within thy heart the message of a Dream 1* 

Dared I trust to these suggestions which the worldly- 
wise would call mere imagination ? A prof otmd philosopher 
of these latter days has defined Imagination as 'an ad- 
vanced perception of truth/ and avers that the discoveries 
of the future can always be predicted by the poet and the 
seer, whose receptive brains are the first to catch the pre- 
monitions of those finer issues of thought which emanate 
from the Divine intelligence. However this may be, my 
own experience of life had taught me that what ordinary 
persons pin their faith upon as real, is often imreal, — ^while 
such promptings of the soul as are almost incapable of ex- 
pression lead to the highest realities of existence. And I 
decided at last to let matters take their own course, though 
I was absolutely resolved to get away from the Harlands 
within the next two or three days. I meant to ask Mr. Har- 
land to land me at Portree, where I could take the steamer 
for Glasgow; — ^any excuse would serve for a hurried de- 
parture — and I felt now that departure was necessary. 

A soft sound of musical bells reached my ears at this 
moment announcing dinner, — and leaving the * princess's * 
apartment, I met Santoris at the entrance to the saloon. 
There was no one else there for the moment but himself, 
and as I came towards him he took my hands in his own 
and raised them to his lips. 

" You are not yet resolved ! '* he said, in a low tone, smil- 
ing — " Take plenty of time ! " 

I lifted my eyes to his, and all doubt seemed swept away 
in the light of our mutual glances — I smiled in response ta 
his look, — and we loosened our hands quickly as Mr. Har- 
land with his doctor and secretary came down from the 
deck, Catherine joining us from the cabin where she had 
disburdened herself of her invalid wrappings. She was 



STRANGE ASSOCIATIONS 233 

father more elegantiy attired than usual — she wore a curi- 
ous purple-coloured gown with threads of gold interwoven 
in the stuff, and a collar of lace turned back at the throat 
gave her the aspect of an old Italian picture — 2l sort of 
' Portrait of a lady, — ^Artist unknown.' Not a pleasant por- 
trait, perhaps — but characteristic of a certain dull and self- 
centred type of woman. We were soon seated at table — ^a 
table richly, yet daintily, appointed, and adorned with the 
costliest flowers and fruits. The men who waited upon us 
were all Easterns, dark-eyed and dark-skinned, and wore 
the Eastern dress, — ^all their movements were swift yet 
graceful and dignified — ^they made no noise in the business 
of serving, — not a dish clattered, not a glass clashed. They 
were perfect servants, taking care to avoid the common but 
reprehensible method of offering dishes to persons convers- 
ing, thus interrupting the flow of talk at inopportune mo- 
ments. And what talk it was ! — all sorts of subjects, social 
and impersonal, came up for discussion, and Santoris han- 
dled them with such skill that he made us forget that there 
was anything remarkable or unusual about himself or his 
surroundings, though, as a matter of fact, no more princely 
banquet could ever have been served in the most luxurious 
of palaces. Half-way through the meal, when the conver- 
sation came for a moment to a pause, the most exquisite 
music charmed our ears — ^beginning softly and far away, it 
swelled out to rich and glorious harmonies like a full or- 
chestra playing under the sea. We looked at each other 
and then at our host in charmed enquiry. 

" Electricity again ! " he said — " So simply managed that 
it is not worth talking about! Unfortunately, it is me- 
chanical music, and this can never be like the music evolved 
from brain and fingers; however, it fills in gaps of silence 
when conventional minds are at a strain for something to 



234 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

say — ^something quite ' safe ' and unlikely to provoke dis^ 
cussion ! " 

His keen blue eyes flashed with a sudden gleam of scorn 
in them. I looked at him half questioningly, and the scorn 
melted into a smile. 

" It isn't good form to start any subject which might lead 
to argument," he went on — " The modem brain must not 
be exercised too strenuously, — ^it is not strong enough to 
stand much effort. What do you say, Harland ? " 

" I agree," answered Mr. Harland. " As a rule people 
who dine as well as we are dining to-night have no room 
left for mentality — ^they become all digestion ! " 

Dr. Brayle laughed. 

" Nothing like a good dinner if one has an appetite for 
it. I think it quite possible that Faust would have left his 
Margaret for a full meal ! " 

" Fm sure he would ! " chimed in Mr. Swinton — " Any 
man would ! " 

Santoris looked down the table with a curious air of half- 
amused inspection. His eyes, clear and searching in their 
swift glance, took in the whole group of us — ^Mr. Harland 
enjoying succulent asparagus; Dr. Brayle drinking cham- 
pagne; Mr. Swinton helping himself out of some dish of 
good things offered to him by one of the servants; Cath- 
erine playing in a sort of demure, old-maidish way with 
knife and fork as if she were eating against her will — 
and finally they rested on me, to whom the dinner was 
just a pretty pageant of luxury in which I scarcely took any 
part. 

" Well, whatever Faust would or would not do," he said, 
half laughingly — " it's certain that food is never at a dis- 
count. Women frequently are." 

" Women," said Mr. ^Harland, poising a stem of aspara- 



STRANGE ASSOCIATIONS 235 

gus in the air, " are so constituted as to invariably make 
havoc either of themselves or of the men they profess to 
love. Wives neglect their husbands, and husbands nat- 
urally desert their wives. Devoted lovers quarrel and part 
over the merest trifles. The whole thing is a mistake." 

" What whole thing? " asked Santoris, smiling. 

'^ The relations between man and woman," Harland an- 
swered. " In my opinion we should conduct ourselves like 
the birds and animals, whose relationships are neither bind- 
ing nor lasting, but are just sufficient to preserve the type. 
That's all that is really needed. What is called love is mere 
sentiment." 

" Do you endorse that verdict, Miss Harland ? " Santoris 
asked, suddenly. 

Catherine looked up, startled — her yellow skin flushed a 
pale red. 

I don't know," she answered — " I scarcely heard '* 

Your father doesn't believe in love," he said — " Do 






tt 



you? 

" I hope it exists," she murmured — " But nowadays peo- 
ple are so very practical " 

" Oh, believe me, they are no more practical now than 
they ever were ! " averred Santoris, laughing. " There's as 
much romance in the modem world as in the ancient ; — ^the 
human heart has the same passions, but they are more deeply 
suppressed and therefore more dangerous. And love holds 
the same eternal sway — so does jealousy." 

Dr. Brayle looked up. 

" Jealousy is an uncivilised thing," he said — '^ It is a kind 
of primitive passion from which no well-ordered mind 
should suffer." 

Santoris smiled. 

** Primitive passions are as forceful ^s Ibe^ ^n^x ^^^f 



9Z6 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

he answered. " No culture can do away with them. Jcal- 
ousy, like love» is one of the motive powers of progress. 
It is a great evil — ^but a necessary one — ^as necessary as war. 
Without strife of some sort the world would become like a 
stagnant pool breeding nothing but weeds and the slimy 
creatures pertaining to foulness. Even in love, the most 
divine of passions, there should be a wave of uncertainty 
and a sense of unsolved mystery to give it everlasting? 
ness." 

" Everlastingness ? " queried Mr. Harland — ^" Or simply 
lifelastingness?'' 

" Everlastingness ! " repeated Santoris. " Love that lacks 
eternal stability is not love at all, but simply an affectionate 
understanding and agreeable companionship in this world 
only. For the other world or worlds ^" 

" Ah ! You are going too far,'* interrupted Mr. Harland 
— ^"'You know I cannot follow you! And with all due 
deference to the fair sex I very much doubt if any one of 
them would care for a love that was destined to last for 



ever." 



u 



No man would," interrupted Brayle, sarcastically. 

Santoris gave him a quick glance. 

" No man is asked to care ! " he said — ^" Nor woman 
either. Souls are not only asked, but commanded, to care ! 
.This, however, is beyond you ! " 

*' And beyond most people," answered Brayle — " Such 
ideas are purely imaginary and transcendental." 

" Granted ! " And Santoris gave him a quick, straight 
glance — " But what do you mean by ' imaginary ' and 
* transcendental ' ? Imagination is the faculty of conceiving 
in the brain ideas which may with time spring to the full 
fruition of realisation. Every item of our present-day civil* 
isation has been ^ imagined ' before taking practical shape. 



it 



STRANGE ASSOCIATIONS 237 

'Transcendental' means beyond the ordinary happenings 
of life and life's bodily routine — ^and this * beyond ' ex- 
presses itself so often that there are few lives lived for a 
single day without some touch of its inexplicable marvel. 
It is on such lines as these that human beings drift away 
from happiness, — ^they will only believe what they can see, 
while all the time their actual lives depend on what they 
do not see ! " 

There was a moment's silence. The charm of his voice 
was potent — and still more so the fascination of his manner 
and bearing, and Mr. Harland looked at him in something 
of wonder and appeal. 

You are a strange fellow, Santoris ! " he said, at last. 

And you always were! Even now I can hardly believe 
that you are really the very Santoris that struck such terror 
into the hearts of some of us undergrads at Oxford ! I say 
I can hardly believe it, though I know you are the man. 
But I wish you would tell me " 

" All about myself ? " And Santoris smiled — *' I will, 
with pleasure! — if the story does not bore you. There is 
no mystery about it — ^no * black magic,' or ' occultism ' of 
any kind. I have done nothing since I left college but 
adapt myself to the forces of Nature, and use them when 
necessary. The same way of life is open to all — ^and the 
same results are bound to follow." 

" Results ? Such as ? " queried Brayle. 

" Health, youth and power ! " answered Santoris, with an 
involuntary slight clenching of the firm, well-shaped hand 
that rested lightly on the table, — " Command of oneself ! — 
command of body, command of spirit, and so on through 
an ever ascending scale! Every man with the breath of 
God in him is a master, not a slave ! " 

My heart beat quickly as he spoke ; something rosfe. ^ss^ 



238 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

in me like a response to a call, and I wondered — ^Did he 
assume to master mef No ! I would not )rield to that! If 
yielding were necessary, it must be my own free will that 
gave in, not his compelling influence ! As this thought ran 
through my brain I met his eyes, — ^he smiled a little, and 
I saw he had guessed my mind. The warm blood rushed 
to my cheeks in a fervent glow, nevertheless the defiance 
of my soul was strong — as strong as the love which had 
begun to dominate me. And I listened eagerly as he 
went on. 

" I began at Oxford by playing the slave part," he said 
— "a slave to conventions and fossil-methods of instruc- 
tion. One can really learn more from studying the actual 
formation of rocks than from those worthy Dons whom 
nothing will move out of their customary ruts of routine. 
Even at that early time I felt that, given a man of health 
and good physical condition, with sound brain, sound lungs 
and firm nerves, it was not apparent why he, evidently bora 
to rule, should put himself into the leading strings of Ox- 
ford or any other forcing-bed of intellectual effort. That 
it would be better if such an one took himself in hand and 
tried to find out his own meaning, both in relation to the 
finite and infinite gradations of Spirit and Matter. And I 
resolved to enter upon the task — without allowing myself 
to fear failure or to hope for success. My aim was to dis- 
cover Myself and my meaning, if such a thing were possi- 
ble. No atom, however infinitesimal, is without origin, his- 
tory, place and use in the Universe — ^and I, a conglomerated 
mass of atoms called Man, resolved to search out the possi- 
bilities, finite and infinite, of my own entity. With this aim 
I began — with this aim I continued." 

" Your task is not finished, then ? " put in Dr. Braylei 
with a smilingly incredulous air. 



STRANGE ASSOCIATIONS 239 

"It wUl never be finished," answered Santoris — ^''An 
eternal thing has no end." 

There was a moment's silence. 

"Well, — ^go on, Santoris!" said Mr. Harland, with a 
touch of impatience, — " And tell us especially what we all 
of us are chiefly anxious to know — ^how it is that you are 
young when according to the time of the world you should 
be old?" 

Santoris smiled again. 

" Ah ! That is a purely personal touch of inquisitive- 
ness ! " he answered — '* It is quite human and natural, of 
course, but not always wise. In every great lesson of life 
or scientific discovery people ask first of all ' How can / 
benefit by it?' or 'How will it affect me?' And while 
asking the question they yet will not trouble to get an 
answer out of themselves, — ^but they turn to others for the 
solution of the mystery. To keep young is not at all dif- 
ficult; when certain simple processes of Nature are mas- 
tered the difficulty is to grow old ! " 

We all sat silent, waiting in mute expectancy. The 
servants had left us, and only the fruits and dainties of 
dessert remained to tempt us in baskets and dishes of ex- 
quisitely coloured Venetian glass, contrasting with the 
graceful clusters of lovely roses and lilies which added 
their soft charm to the decorative effect of the table, and 
Santoris passed the wine, a choice Chateau- Yquem, rouncf 
to us all before beginning to speak again. And when he 
did speak, it was in a singularly quiet, musical voice which 
exercised a kind of spell upon my ears — I had heard that 
voice before — ^ah! — how often! How often through the 
course of my life had I listened to it wonderingly in dreams 
of which the waking morning brought no explanation! 
How it had stolen upon me like an echo froxa. iax '^m^'*^ 



240 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

when alone in the pauses of work and thought I had longed 
for some comprehension and sympathy! And I had re- 
proached myself for my own fancies and imaginings, deem- 
ing them wholly foolish and irresponsible! And now! 
Now its gentle and familiar tone went straight to the centre 
of my spiritual consciousness, and forced me to realise that 
for the Soul there is no escape from its immortal remem* 
brakicel 



XI 



ONE WAY OF LOVE 

** When I left Oxford," he said — '* as I told you bcfcre^ 
I left what I conceived to be slavery — ^that is, a submis- 
sively ordered routine of learning in which there occurred 
nothing new — nothing hopeful — nothing really serviceable. 
I mastered all there was to master, and carried away ' hon- 
ours * which I deemed hardly worth winning. It was sup- 
posed then — ^most people would suppose it — ^that as I found 
myself the possessor of an income of between five and six 
thousand a year, I would naturally * live my life,' as the 
phrase goes, and enter upon what is called a social career. 
Now to my mind a social career simply means social sham 
— and to live my life had always a broader application fdf 
me than for the majority of men. So, having ascertained 
all I could concerning myself and my affairs from my fa- 
ther's London solicitors, and learning exactly how I was 
situated with regard to finances and what is called the 
'practical ' side of life, I left England for Egypt, the land 
where I was bom. I had an object in view, — and that 
object was not only to see my own old home, but to find 
out the whereabouts of a certain great sage and mystic 
philosopher long known in the East by the name of 
Heliobas." 

I started, and the blood rushed to my cheeks in a burning 
flame. 

I think you knew him," he went on, addressing me 



a 



242 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

directly, with a straight glance — " You met him some years 
back, did you not ? " 

I bent my head in silent assent, — and saw the eyes of my 
host and hostess turned upon me in questioning scrutiny. 

" In a certain circle of students and mystics he was re- 
nowned," continued Santoris, — " and I resolved to see what 
he could make of me — what he woidd advise, and how I 
should set to work to discover what I had resolved to find. 
However, at the end of a long and tedious journey, I met 
with disappointment — Heliobas had removed to another 
sphere of action " 

" He was dead, you mean," interposed Mr. Harland. 

" Not at all," answered Santoris, calmly. " There is no 
death. Jo put it quite simply, he had reached the top of 
his class in this particular school of life and learning and, 
therefore, was ready and willing to pass on into the higher 
grade. He, however, left a successor capable of maintain- 
ing the theories he inculcated, — s, man named Aselzion, 
who elected to live in an almost inaccessible spot among 
mountains with a few followers and disciples. Him I 
found after considerable difficulty — ^and we came to under- 
stand each other so well that I stayed with him some time 
studying all that he deemed needful before I started on my 
own voyage of discovery. His methods of instruction were 
arduous and painful — in fact, I may say I went through 
a veritable ordeal of fire " 

He broke off, and for a moment seemed absorbed in 
recollections. 

** You are speaking, I suppose, of some rule of life, some 
kind of novitiate to which you had to submit yourself," 
said Mr. Harland — " Or was it merely a course of study ? " 

" In one sense it was a sort of novitiate or probation," 
^5wered Santoris, slowly, with the far-away» musing look 



ONE WAY OF LOVE 243 

still in his eyes — ^''In another it was, as you put it, 

* merely ' a course of study. Merely ! It was a course of 
study in which every nerve, every muscle, every sinew was 
tested to its utmost strength — ^and in which a combat be- 
tween the spiritual and material was fiercely fought till 
the one could master the other so absolutely as to hold it 
in perfect subjection. Well ! I came out of the trial fairly 
well — strong enough at any rate to stand alone — as I have 
done ever since." 

" And to what did your severe ordeal lead? " asked Dr. 
Brayle, who by this time appeared interested, though still 
wearing his incredulous, half-sneering air — " To anything 
which you could not have gained just as easily without it? " 

Santoris looked straight at him. His keen eyes glowed 
as though some bright fire of the soul had leaped into 
them. 

" In the first place," he answered — " it led me to power I 
Power, — ^not only over myself but over all things small and 
great that surround or concern my being. I think you will 
admit that if a man takes up any line of business, it is neces- 
sary for him to understand all its technical methods and 
practical details. My business was and is Life I — ^the one 
thing that humanity never studies, and therefore fails to 
master." 

Mr. Harland looked up. 

" Life is mysterious and inexplicable," he said — " We 
cannot tell why we live. No one can fathom that mystery. 
We are Here through no conscious desire of our own, — 
and again we are not here just as we have learned to ac- 
commodate ourselves to the fact of being Anywhere! " 

" True ! " answered Santoris — " But to understand the 

* why ' of life we must first of all realise that its origin 
is Love. Love creates life because it must; eveti ^.<^o'^l^s:l^^ 



244 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

when pushed to the wall in argument grant that some toys* 
terious and mighty Force is at the back of creation, — a 
Force which is both intelligent and beneficent. The trite 
saying ' God is Love ' is true enough, but it is quite as true 
to say * Love is God/ The commencement of universes, 
solar systems and worlds is the desire of Love to express 
Itself. No more and no less than this. From desire springs 
action, — from action life. It only remains for each living 
unit to bring itself into harmonious union with this one 
fundamental law of the whole cosmos, — ^the expression and 
action of Love which is based, as naturally it must be, on 
a dual entity." 

" What do you mean by that ? " asked Dr. Brayle. 

" As a physician, and I presume as a scientist, you ought 
scarcely to ask," replied Santoris, with a slight smile. " For 
you surely know there is no single thing in the Universe. 
The very microbes of disease or health go in pairs. Light 
and darkness, — ^the up and the down, — ^the right and the 
left, — ^the storm and the calm, — ^the male and the female, — 
all things are dual; and the sorrows of humanity are for 
the most part the result of ill-assorted numbers, — ^figures 
brought together that will not count up properly — ^wrong 
halves of the puzzle that will never fit into place. The 
mischief runs through all civilization, — wrong halves of 
races brought together which do not and never can assimi- 
late, — ^and in an individual personal sense wrong halves of 
spirit and matter are often forced together which are bound 
by law to separate in time with some attendant disaster. 
The error is caused by the obstinate miscomprehension of 
man himself as to the nature and extent of his own powers 
and faculties. He forgets that he is not ' as the beasts that 
perish,' but that he has the breath of God in him, — ^that he 
holds within himself the seed of immortality which is per- 



ONE WAY OF LOVE 245 

petually re-creative. He is bound by all the laws of the 
Universe to give that immortal life its dual entity and at- 
tendant power, without which he cannot attain his highest 
ends. It may take him thousands of years--cycles of time, 
— ^but it has to be done. Materially speaking, he may per- 
haps consider that he has secured his dual entity by a pleas- 
ing or fortunate marriage — ^but if he is not spiritually 
mated, his marriage is useless, — ^ay! worse than useless, as 
it only interposes fresh obstacles between himself and his 
intended progress." 

" Marriage can hardly be called a useless institution," said 
Dr. Brayle, with an uplifting of his sinister brows; "It 
helps to populate the world." 

" It does," answered Santoris, calmly — " But if the pairs 
that are joined in marriage have no spiritual bond between 
them and nothing beyond the attraction of the mere body — 
they people the world with more or less incapable, unthink- 
ing and foolish creatures like themselves. And supposing 
these to be bom in tens of millions, like ants or flies, they 
will not carry on the real purpose of man's existence to 
an3rthing more than that stoppage and recoil which is called 
Death, but which in reality is only a turning back of the 
wheels of time when the right road has been lost and it 
becomes imperative to begin the journey all over again." 

We sat silent; no one had any comment to offer. 

"We are arriving at that same old turning-point once 
more," he continued — ^" The Western civilisation of two 
thousand years, assisted (and sometimes impeded) by the 
teachings of Christianity, is nearing its end. Out of the 
vast wreckage of nations, now imminent, only a few indi- 
viduals can be saved,— and the storm is so close at hand that 
one can almost hear the mutterings of the thimder! But 
yrhy should I or you or anyone else think about it? Wife 



246 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

have our own concerns to attend to — and we attend to 
these so well that we forget all the most vital necessities 
that should make them of any importance! However — in 
this day — ^nothing matters! Shall I go on with my own 
story, or have you heard enough ? " 

" Not half enough! " said Catherine Harland, quite sud- 
denly — she had scarcely spoken before, but she now leaned 
forward, looking eagerly interested — '^ You speak of power 
over yourself,— do you possess the same power over 
others ? " 

" Not unless they come into my own circle of action," 
he answered. " It would not be worth my while to exert 
any influence on persons who are, and ever must be, indif- 
ferent to me. I can, of course, defend myself against 
enemies — and that without lifting a hand." 

Everyone, save myself, looked at him inquisitively, — but 
he did not explain his meaning. He went on very quietly 
with his own personal narrative. 

" As I have told you," he said — ** I came out of my studies 
with Aselzion successfully enough to feel justified in going 
on with my work alone. I took up my residence in Egypt 
in my father's old home — ^a pretty place enough with wide 
pleasure grounds planted thickly with palm trees and richly 
filled with flowers, — ^and here I undertook the mastery and 
comprehension of the most difficult subject ever propounded 
for learning — ^the most evasive, complex, yet exact piece of 
mathematics ever set out for solving — Myself ! Myself was 
my puzzle! How to unite myself with Nature so thor- 
oughly as to insinuate myself into her secrets, — ^possess al! 
she could offer me, — and yet detach myself from Self so 
completely as to be ready to sacrifice all I had gained at a 
moment's notice should that moment come." 

**You are paradoxical," said Mr. Harland, irritably. 



ONE WAY OF LOVE 247 

'^ What's the use of gaining anything if it is to be lost at 
a moment's bidding ? " 

" It is the only way to hold and keep whatever there is 
to win," answered Santoris, calmly — "And the paradox 
is no greater than that of * He that loveth his life shall 
lose it.' The only ' moment ' of supreme self -surrender is 
Love — ^when that comes everything else must go. Love 
alone can compass life, perfect it, complete it and carry it 
on to eternal happiness. But please bear in mind that I am 
speaking of real Love, — ^not mere physical attraction. The 
two things are as different as light from darkness." 

" Is your curious conception or ideal of love the reason 
why you have never married ? " asked Brayle, abruptly. 

" Precisely ! " replied Santoris. " It is most unquestion- 
ably and emphatically the reason why I have never mar- 
ried." 

There was a pause. I saw Catherine glancing at him 
with a strange furtiveness in which there was something 
of fear. 

" You have never met your ideal, I suppose ? " she asked, 
with a faint smile. 

" Oh yes, I've met her ! " he answered — " Ages ago ! On 
many occasions I have met her; — sometimes she has es- 
tranged herself from me, — sometimes she has been torn 
from me by others — ^and still more often I have, through 
my own folly and obstinacy, separated myself from her — 
but our mutual mistakes do no more than delay the inevita- 
ble union at last." — Here he spoke slowly and with marked 
meaning — " For it is an inevitable union ! — ^as inevitable as 
that of two electrons which, after spinning in space for 
certain periods of time, rush together at last and remain 
so indissolubly united that nothing can ever separate them.** 

" And then? " queried Dr. Brayle, with au itotvvca.l^vt. 



a48 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

" Then ? Why, everything is possible then ! Beauty, per- 
fection, wisdom, progress, creativeness, and a world— even 
worlds— of splendid thought and splendid ideals, bound to 
lead to still more splendid realisation ! It is not difficult to 
imagine two brains, two minds moving so absolutely in 
unison that like a grand chord of music they strike harmony 
through hitherto dumb life-episodes — ^but think of two im- 
mortal souls full of a love as deathless as themselves, con* 
joined in highest effort and superb attainment! — ^the love 
of angel for angel, of god for god! You think this ideal 
imaginative, — transcendental — impossible! — ^yet I swear to 
you it is the most recU possibility in this fleeting mirage of 
a world!" 

His voice thrilled with a warmth of feeling and convic- 
tion, and as I heard him speak I trembled inwardly with 
a sudden remorse — a quick sense of inferiority and shame. 
Why could I not let myself go? Why did I not give the 
fluttering spirit within me room to expand its wings? 
Something opposing, — something inimical to my peace and 
happiness held me back — ^and presently I began to wonder 
whether I should attribute it to the influence of those with 
whom I was temporarily associated. I was almost con- 
firmed in this impression when Mr. Harland's voice, harsh 
and caustic as it could be when he was irritated or worsted 
in an argument, broke the momentary silence. 

" You are more impossible now than you ever were at 
Oxford, Santoris ! " he said — " You out-transcend all tran- 
scendentalism ! You know, or you ought to know by this 
time, that there is no such thing as an immortal soul — and 
if you believe otherwise you have brought yourself volun- 
tarily into that state of blind credulity. All science teaches 
us that we are the mere spawn of the planet on which we 
Jive, — ^we are here to make the best of it for ourselves and 



ONE WAY OF LOVE 249 

for others who come after us — ^and there's an end. What 
is called Love is the mere physical attraction between the 
two sexes — ^no more, — ^and it soon palls. All that we gain 
we quickly cease to care for — it is the way of humanity." 

" What a poor creation humanity is, theii ! " said San- 
.toris, with a smile — " How astonishing that it should exist 
at all for no higher aims than those of the ant or the mouse ! 
My dear Harland, if your beliefs were really sound we 
should be bound in common duty and charity to stop the 
population of the world altogether — for the whole business 
is useless. Useless and even cruel, for it is nothing but 
a crime to allow people to be bom for no other end than 
extinction ! However, keep your creeds ! I thank Heaven 
they are not mine ! " 

Mr. Harland gave a slight movement of impatience. I 
could see that he was disturbed in his mind. 

" Let's talk of something I can follow," he said — ** the 
personal and material side of things. Your perennial con* 

dition of health, for example. Your apparent youth ^" 

Oh, is it only * apparent ' ? " laughed Santoris, gaily — 

Well, to those who never knew me in my boyhood's days 
and are therefore never hurling me back to their 'thirty 
years or more ago ' of friendship, etc., my youth seems very 
actual! You see their non-ability to count up the time 
I have spent on earth obliges them to accept me at my own 
valuation ! There's really nothing tp explain in the matter. 
Everyone can keep yoimg if he understands himself and 
Nature. If I were to tell you the literal truth of the process, 
you would not believe me, — ^and even if you did you would 
not have the patience to carry it out! But what does it 
matter after all? If we only live for the express purpose 
of dying, the sooner we get the business over and done with 
the better — youth itself has no charms uxidti ^uOsv ^w^mscl- 



it 



250 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

stances. All the purposes of life, however lofty and nobly 
planned, are bound to end in nothingness, — and it is hardly 
worth while taking the trouble to breathe the murderous 
air!" 

He spoke with a kind of passion — ^his eyes were luminous 
• — ^his face transfigured with an almost superhuman glow, 
and we all looked at him in something of amazement. 

Mr. Harland fidgeted uneasily in his chair. 

" You go too far ! " he said — " Life is agreeable as long 
as it lasts " 

" Have you found it so ? " Santoris interrupted him. 
'* Has it not, even in your pursuit and attainment of wealth, 
brought you more pain than pleasure ? Number up all the 
possibilities of life, from the existence of the labourer in 
his hut to that of the king on his throne, they are none of 
them worth striving for or keeping if death is the ultimate 
end. Ambition is merest folly, — wealth a temporary pos- 
session of perishable goods which must pass to others, — • 
fame a brief noise of one's name in mouths that will soon 
be dumb, — and love, sex-attraction only. What a treach- 
erous and criminal act, then, is this Creation of Universes! 
— what mad folly! — what sheer, blind, reasonless wicked- 
ness ! " 

There was a silence. His eyes flashed from one to the 
other of us. I 

" Can you deny it ? " he demanded. " Can you find any 
sane, logical reason for the continuance of life which is to 
end in utter extinction, or for the creation of worlds doomed 
to eternal destruction ? " 

No one spoke. 
You have no answer ready," he said — ^and smiled — 

Naturally ! For an answer is impossible ! And here you 
have the key to what you consider my mystery — the mys- 






ONE WAY OF LOVE 251 

tcry of keeping young instead of growing old — ^the secret 
of living instead of dying ! It is simply the conscious prac" 
Heal realisation that there is no Death, but only Change. 
That is the first part of the process. Change, or transmuta-' 
tion and transformation of the atoms and elements of 
which we are composed, is going on for ever without a 
second's cessation, — it b^an when we were bom and before 
we were bom — and the art of living young consists simply 
in using one's soul and will-power to guide this process of 
change towards the ends we desire, instead of leaving it 
to blind chance and to the association with inimical influ- 
ences, which interfere with our best actions. For example 
— I — B, man in sound health and condition — realise that with 
every moment some change is working in me towards some 
end. It rests entirely with myself as to whether the change 
shall be towards continuance of health or towards admis- 
sion of disease — ^towards continuance of youth or towards 
the encouragement of age, — ^towards life as it presents itself 
to me now, or towards some other phase o.f life as I per- 
ceive if in the future. I can advance or retard myself as 
I please — ^the proper management of Myself being my 
business. If I should suffer pain or illness I am very sure 
it will be chiefly through my own fault — if I invite decay 
and decrepitude, it will be because I allow these forces to 
encroach upon my well-being — in fact, briefly — I am what 
I will to be !— and all the laws that brought me into exist- 
ence support me in this attitude of mind, body and spirit ! " 

" If we could all become what we would be," said Dr. 
Brayle, " we should attain the millennium ! " 

" Are you sure of that? " queried Santoris. " Would it 
not rather depend on the particular choice each one of us 
might make? You, for example, might wish to be some- 
thing that would hardly tend to your happiness^ — ^atvd^o^ai 



2$2 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

wish being obtained you might become what (if you had 
only realised it) you would give worlds not to be! Some 
men desire to be thieves — even murderers — and become so, 
— but the end of their desires is not perhaps what they 
imagined!'* 

" Can you read people's thoughts ? " asked Catherine, 
suddenly. 

Santoris looked amused. He replied by a counter ques- 
tion. 

" Would you be sorry if I could ? *' 

She flushed a little. I smiled, knowing what was in her 
mind. 

*' It would be a most unpleasant accomplishment — that 
of reading the thoughts of others/' said Mr. Harland ; " I 
would rather not cultivate it." 

" But Mr. Santoris almost implies that he possesses it," 
said Dr. Brayle, with a touch of irritation in his manner; 
" And, after all, * thought-reading ' is a kind of society 
amusement nowadays. There is nothing very difficult in 
it." 

" Nothing, indeed ! " agreed Santoris, lightly ; " And be- 
ing as easy as it is, why do you not show us at once that 
antique piece of jewellery you have in your pocket! You 
brought it with you this evening to show to me and ask 
my opinion of its value, did you not? " 

Brayle's eyes opened in utter amazement. If ever a 
man was taken completely by surprise, he was. 

" How did you know ? " he began, stammeringly, while 
Mr. Harland, equally astonished, stared at him through his 
round spectacles as though challenging some defiance. 

Santoris laughed. 

" Thought-reading is only a society amusement, as you 
have just observed," he said — " And I have been amusing 



€4 



ONE WAY OF LOVE 253 

myself with it for the last few minutes. Come ! — ^let us see 
your treasure ! " 

Dr. Brayle was thoroughly embarrassed, — ^but he tried to 
cover his confusion by an awkward laugh. 

Well, you have made a very clever hit ! " he said — 

Quite a random shot, of course — which by mere coin- 
cidence went to its mark! It's quite true I have brought 
with me a curious piece of jewel-work which I always carry 
about wherever I go— and something moved me to-night 
to ask your opinion of its value, as well as to place its 
period. It is old Italian; but even experts are not agreed 
as to its exact date.'' 

He put his hand in his breast pocket and drew out a 
small silk bag from which he took with great care a collar 
of jewels, designed in a kind of chain-work which made 
it perfectly flexible. He laid it out on the table, — ^and I bit 
my lip hard to suppress an involuntary exclamation. For 
I had seen the thing before — and for the immediate moment 
could not realise where, till a sudden flash of light through 
the cells of my brain reminded me of that scene of love 
and death in the vision of the artist's studio when the name 
' Cosmo de Medicis ' had been whispered like an evil omen. 
The murderer in that dream-picture had worn a collar of 
jewels precisely similar to the one I now saw; but I could 
only keep silence and listen with every nerve strained to 
utmost attention while Santoris took the ornament in his 
hand and looked at it with an intent earnestness in which 
there was almost a touch of compassion. 

" A beautiful piece of workmanship," he said, at last, 
slowly, while Mr. Harland, Catherine, and Swinton the sec- 
retary all drew up closer to him at the table and leaned 
eagerly forward — " And I should say " — here he raised his 
eyes and looked full at the dark, brooding, sinister face of 



254 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 



Brayle — " I should say that it belonged to the Medici period 
It must have been part of the dress of a nobleman of that 
time — ^the design seems to me to be Florentine. Perhaps 
if these jewels could speak they might tell a strange story! 
— they are unhappy stones ! " 

" Unhappy ! " exclaimed Catherine — " You mean un- 
lucky?" 

" No ! — ^there is no such thing as luck," answered San- 
toris, quietly, turning the collar over and over in his hands 
— " Not for either jewels or men ! But there is tmhappi- 
ness, — and unhappiness simply means life being put to 
wrong uses. I call these gems ' unhappy ' because they have 
been wrongfully used. A precious stone is a living thing — 
it absorbs influences as the earth absorbs light, and these 
jewels have absorbed some sense of evil that renders them 
less beautiful than they might be. These diamonds and 
rubies, these emeralds and sapphires, have not the full 
lustre of their own true nature, — they are in the condition 
of pining flowers. It will take centuries before they re- 
sume their natural brilliancy. There is some tragedy hidden 
among them." 

Dr. Brayle looked amused. 

" Well, I can give you no history of them," he said — 
"A friend of mine bought the collar from an old Jew 
curiosity dealer in a back street of Florence and sent it to 
me to wear with a Florentine dress at a fancy dress ball. 
Curiously enough I chose to represent one of the Medicis, 
some artist having told me my features resembled their 
type of countenance. That's the chronicle, so far as I am 
concerned. I rather liked it on account of its antiquity. 
I could have sold it many times over, but I have no desire 
to part with it." 

" Naturally ! " — ^and Santoris passed on the collar to 



ONE WAY OF LOVE r^S5 

everyone to examine — '^ You feel a sense of proprietorship 
in it" 

Catherine Harland had the trinket in her hand, and a 
curious vague look of terror came over her face as she pres- 
ently passed it back to its owner. But she made no remark 
and it was Mr. Harland who resumed the conversation. 

" That's an odd idea of yours about unhappy jewels," he 
said — " Perhaps the misfortune attending the possessors of 
the famous blue Hope diamond could be traced to some 
early tragedy connected with it." 

" Unquestionably ! " replied Santoris. " Now look at 
this ! " — ^and he drew from his watch pocket a small fine gold 
chain to which was attached a moonstone of singular size 
and beauty, set in a circle of diamonds — " Here is a sort 
of talismanic jewel — it has never known any disastrous 
influences, nor has it been disturbed by malevolent sur- 
roundings. It is a perfectly happy, unsullied gem ! As you 
see, the lustre is perfect — ^as clear as that of a summer moon 
in heaven. Yet it is a very old jewel and has seen more 
than a thousand years of life." 

We all examined the beautiful ornament, and as I 
held it in my hand a moment it seemed to emit tiny 
sparks of luminance like a flash of moonlight on rippling 



waves. 



Women should take care that their jewels are made 
happy," he continued, looking at me with a slight smile, 
" That is, if they want them to shine. Nothing that lives 
is at its best unless it is in a condition of happiness — a con- 
dition which after all is quite easy to attain." 

"Easy! I should have thought nothing was so diffi- 
cult ! " said Mr. Harland. 

" Nothing certainly is so difficult in the ordinary way of 
life men choose to live," answered Santoris — ^**For the 



J56 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

most part they run after the shadow and forsake the light 
Even in work and the creative action of thought each ordi- 
nary man imagines that his especial work being all-impor- 
tant, it is necessary for him to sacrifice everything to it 
And he does, — if he is filled with worldly ambition and 
selfish concentration ; and he produces something— anything 
— which frequently proves to be ephemeral as gossamer 
dust. It is only when work is the outcome of a great love 
and keen sympathy for others that it lasts and keeps its 
influence. Now we have talked enough about all these 
theories, which are not interesting to anyone who is not 
prepared to accept them — ^shall we go up on deck ? " 

We all rose at once, Santoris holding out a box of cigars 
to the men to help themselves. Catherine and I preceded 
them up the saloon stairs to the deck, which was now like 
a sheet of silver in the light shed by one of the loveliest 
moons of the year. The water around was sparkling with 
phosphorescence and the dark mountains looked higher and 
more imposing than ever, rising as they seemed to do sheer 
up from the white splendour of the sea. I leaned over the 
deck rail, gazing down into the deep liquid mirror of stars 
below, and my heart was heavy and full of a sense of bitter- 
ness and tears. Catherine had dropped languidly into a 
chair and was leaning back in it with a strange, far-away 
expression on her tired face. Suddenly she spoke with an 
almost mournful gentleness. 

" Do you like his theories ? " 

I turned towards her enquiringly. 

" I mean, do you like the idea of there being no deatk 
and that we only change from one life to another and so on 
for ever ? " she continued. " To me it is appalling ! Some- 
times I think death the kindest thing that can happen- 
especially for women." 



ONE WAY OF LOVE 257 

I was in the mood to agree with her. I went up to her 
and knelt down by her side. 

"Yes!*' I said, and I felt the tremor of tears in my 
voice — ** Yes, for women death often seems very kind ! 
When there is no love and no hope of love, — when the 
world is growing grey and the shadows are deepening to- 
wards night, — when the ones we most dearly love misjudge 
and mistrust us and their hearts are closed against our 
tenderness, then death seems the greatest god of all ! — one 
before whom we may well kneel and offer up our prayers ! 
Who could, who would live for ever quite alone in an eter- 
nity without love? Oh, how much kinder, how much 
sweeter would be utter extinction " 

My voice broke; and Catherine, moved by some sudden 
womanly impulse, put her arm round me. 

" Why, you are crying ! " she said, softly. " What is 
it ? You, who are always so bright and happy ! " 

I quickly controlled the weakness of my tears. 

" Yes, it is foolish! " I said—" But I feel to-night as if 
I had wasted a good part of my life in useless research,— 
in looking for what has been, after all, quite close to my 
hand,— only that I failed to see it ! — ^and that I must go back 
upon the road I thought I had passed " 

Here I paused. I saw she could not understand 
me. 

** Catherine," I went on, abruptly — '* Will you let me leave 
you in a day or two? I have been quite a fortnight with 
you on board the * Diana,' and I think I have had enough 
holiday. I should like" — ^and I looked up at her from 
where I knelt — " I should like to part from you while we 
remain good friends — ^and I have an idea that perhaps we 
shall not agree so well if we learn to know more of each 
other." 



2S& THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

She bent her eyes upon me with a half-frightened 
expression. 

" How strange you should think that ! " she murmured — 
" I have f ek the same — and yet I really like you very much 
— I always liked you — ^I wish you would believe it ! *' 

I smiled. 

" Dear Catherine," I said — '' it is no use shutting our 
eyes to the fact that while there is something which attracts 
us to each other, there is also something which repels. We 
cannot argue about it or analyse it. Such mysterious things 
do occur, — and they are beyond our searching out '* 

" But," she interrupted, quickly — *' we were not so 
troubled by these mysterious things till we met this man 
Santoris " 

She broke off, and I rose to my feet, as just then Santoris 
approached, accompanied by Mr. Harland and the others. 

" I have suggested giving you a sail by moonlight before 
you leave," he said. " It will be an old experience for you 
under new conditions. Sailing by moonlight in an ordinary 
sense is an ordinary thing, — ^but sailing by moonlight with 
the moonlight as part of our motive power has perhaps 
a touch of originality." 

As he spoke he made a sign to one of his men who came 
up to receive his orders, which were given in too low a 
tone for us to hear. Easy deck chairs were placed for all 
the party, and we were soon seated in a group together, 
somewhat silently at first, our attention being entirely 
riveted on the wonderful, almost noiseless way in which 
the sails of the ' Dream ' were unfurled. There was no 
wind, — ^the night was warm and intensely still — ^the sea 
absolutely calm. Like broad white wings, the canvas grad- 
ually spread out under the deft, quick hands of the sailors 
employed in handling it, — ^the anchor was drawn up in the 



ONE WAY OF LOVE 259 

same Jwift and silent manner — ^then there came an instant's 
pause. Mr, Harland drew his cigar from his mouth and 
looked up amazed, as we all did, at the mysterious way in 
which the sails filled out, pulling the cordage tightly into 
bands of iron strength, — ^and none of us could restrain an 
involuntary cry of wonder and admiration as their white- 
ness began to glitter with the radiance of hoar-frost, the 
strange luminance deepening in intensity till it seemed as 
if the whole stretch of canvas from end to end of the mag- 
nificent schooner was a mass of fine jewel- work sparkling 
under the moon. 

" Well ! However much I disagree with your theories 
of life, Santoris," said Mr. Harland, — " I will give you 
full credit for this extraordinary yacht of yours! It's the 
most wonderful thing I ever saw, and you are a wonderful 
fellow to have carried out such an unique application of 
science. You ought to impart your secret to the world." 

Santoris laughed lightly. 

" And the world would take a hundred years or more 
to discuss it, consider it, deny it, and finally accept it," he 
said — *' No ! One grows tired of asking the world to be 
either wise or happy. It prefers its own way — ^just as I 
prefer mine. It will discover the method of sailing without 
wind, and it will learn how to make every sort of me- 
chanical progress without steam in time — ^but not in our 
day, — ^and I, personally, cannot afford to wait while it is 
slowly learning its ABC like a big child under protest. 
You see we're going now ! " 

We were * going * indeed, — it would have been more 
correct to say we were flying. Over the still water our 
vessel glided like a moving beautiful shape of white fire, 
swiftly and steadily, with no sound save the little hissing 
murmur of tiie water cleft under her keel. And then, like 



26o THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

a sudden whisper from fairyland came the ripple of harp- 
strings, running upward in phrases of exquisite melody, and 
a boy's voice, clear, soft and full, b^;an to sing, with a pure 
enunciation which enabled us to hear every word : 

Sailing, sailing I Whither? 
What path of the flashing sea 
Seems best for you and me? 
No matter the way, 
By night or day, 
So long as we sail together! 

Sailing, sailing I Whither? 
Into the rosy grace 
Of the sun's deep setting-place? 
We need not know 
How far we go, 
So long as we sail together ! 

Sailing, sailing! Whither? 
To the glittering rainbow strand 
Of Love's enchanted land? 
We ask not where 
In earth or air, 
So long as we sail together ! 

Sailing, sailing! Whither? 
On to the life divine, — 
Your soul made one with mine t 
In Heaven or Hell 
All must be well, 
So long as we sail together ! 

The song finished with a passionate chord which, played 
as it was with swift intensity, seemed to awaken a response 
from the sea, — ^at any rate a strange shivering echo trembled 
upward as it were from the water and floated into the 
spacious silence of the night. My heart beat with uncom- 
fortable quickness and my eyes grew hot with the weight 



ONE WAY OF LOVE 261 

of suppressed tears; — ^why could I not escape from the 
crud^ restraining force that held my real self prisoner as 
with manacles of steel ? I could not even speak ; and while 
the others were clapping their hands in delighted applause 
at the beauty of both voice and song, I sat silent. 

" He sings well ! " said Santoris — " He is the Eastern lad 
you saw when you came on deck this morning. I brought 
him from Egypt. He will give us another song presently. 
Shall we walk a little?" 

We rose and paced the deck slowly, gradually dividing 
in couples, Catherine and Dr. Brayle — ^Mr. Harland and his 
secretary, — Santoris and myself. We two paused together 
at the stem of the vessel looking towards the bowsprit, 
which seemed to pierce the distance of sea and sky like a 
flying arrow. 

" You wish to speak to me alone," said Santoris, then— ^ 
** Do you not ? Though I know what you want to say ! " 

I glanced at him with a touch of defiance. 
Then I need not speak," I answered. 
No, you need not speak, unless you give utterance to 
what is in your true soul," he said — ** I would rather you 
did not play at conventions with me." 

For the moment I felt almost angry. 
I do not play at conventions," I murmured. 
Oh, do you not ? Is that quite candid ? " 

I raised my eyes and met his, — he was smiling. Some of 
the oppression in my soul suddenly gave way, and I spoke 
hurriedly in a low tone. 

Surely you know how difficult it is for me ? " I said. 

Things have happened so strangely, — ^and we are sur- 
rounded here by influences that compel conventionality. I 
cannot speak to you as frankly as I would under other cir- 
cumstances. It is easy for you to be yourself;— ^omVnsn^ 






4( 



it 

4€ 



a62 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

gained the mastery over all lesser forces than yotir own. 
But with me it is different — ^perhaps when I am away I 
shall be able to think more calmly — 



" You are going away ? " he asked, gently. 
" Yes. It is better so." 



He remained silent. I went on, quickly. 

*' I am going away because I feel inadequate and unable 
to cope with my present surroundings. I have had some 
experience of the same influences before— I know I 
have " 

" I also ! " he interrupted. 

" Well, you must realise this better than I," and I looked 
at him now with greater courage — '' and if you have, you 
know they have led to trouble. I want you to help me." 

" I ? To help you ? " he said. " How can I help you 
when you leave me ? " 

There was something infinitely sad in his voice, — ^and the 
old fear came over me like a chill — ' lest I should lose what 
I had gained ! ' 

" If I leave you," I said, tremblingly — " I do so because 
I am not worthy to be with you ! Oh, can you not see this 
in me? " For as I spoke he took my hand in his and held 
it with a kindly clasp—" I am so self-willed, so proud, sc 
unworthy! There are a thousand things I would say tc 
you, but I dare not — ^not here, or now ! " 

" No one will approach us," he said, still holding my 
hand — " I am keeping the others, unconsciously to them- 
selves, at a distance till you have finished speaking. Tell 
me some of these thousand things I " 

I looked up at him and saw the deep lustre of his eyes 
filled with a great tenderness. He drew me a little closer 
to his side. 

" Tell me," he persisted, softly — " Is there very much 



ONE WAY OF LOVE 263 

that wc do not, if we are true to each other, know 
already ? " 

" You know more than I do ! " I answered — " Anl I want 
to be equal with you! I dot I cannot be content tc feel 
that I am groping in the dark weakly and blindly while you 
are in the light, strong and self-contained! You can help 
me — ^and you will help me ! You will tell me where I should 
go and study as you did with Aselzion! " 

He started back, amazed. 

" With Aselzion ! Dear, forgive me ! You are a woman ! 
It is impossible that you should suffer so great an ordeal, 
— so severe a strain ! And why should you attempt it ? If 
you would let me, I would be sufficient for you." 

" But I will not let you ! " I said, quickly, roused to 
a kind of defiant energy — " I wish to go to the very source 
of your instruction, and then I shall see where I stand with 
regard to you! If I stay here now " 

" It will be the same old story over again ! " be said — 
*^Love — ^and mistrust! Then drifting apart in the same 
weary way! Is it not possible to avoid the errors of the 
past?" 

" No ! " I said, resolutely — " For me it is not possible ! 
I cannot yield to my own inward promptings. They offer 
me too much happiness! I doubt the joy, — I fear the 
glory!" 

My voice trembled — the very clasp of his hand unnerved 
me. 

" I will tell you," he said, after a brief pause, " what you 
feel. You are perfectly conscious that between you and 
myself there is a tie which no power, earthly or heavenly, 
can break, — ^but you are living in a matter-of-fact world 
with matter-of-fact persons, and the influence they exert is 
to make you incredulous of the very truths which are an 



264 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

essential part of your spiritual existence. I understand all 
this. I understand also why you wish to go to the House 
of Aselzion, and you shall go " 

I uttered an exclamation of relief and pleasure. His eyes 
grew dark with earnest gravity as he looked at me. 

** You are pleased at what you cannot realise/' he said, 
slowly — " If you go to the House of Aselzion — ^and I see 
you are determined — it will be a matter of such vital im- 
port that it can only mean one of two things, — ^your entire 
happiness or your entire misery. I cannot contemplate with 
absolute calmness the risk you run, — and yet it is better that 
you should follow the dictates of your own soul than be 
as you are now — irresolute, — ^uncertain of yourself and 
ready to lose all you have gained ! " 

*To lose all I have gained.* The old insidious terror! 
I met his searching gaze imploringly. 

*' 1 must not lose anything ! '' I said, and my voice sank 
lower, — '* I cannot bear — ^to lose you! " 

His hand closed on mine with a tighter gra^. 
Yet you doubt ! " he said, softly. 
I must know! " I said, resolutely. 

He lifted his head with a proud gesture that was curi- 
ously familiar to me. 

" So the old spirit is not dead in you, my queen,*' he 
said, smiling. " The old indomitable will ! — ^the desire to 
probe to the very centre of things ! Yet love defies analysis, 
— ^and is the only thing that binds the Universe together. 
A fact beyond all proving — ^a truth which cannot be ex- 
pounded by any given rule or line but which is the most 
emphatic force of life ! My queen, it is a force that must 
either bend or break you! " 

I made no reply. He still held my hand, and we looked 
put together on the shining expanse of the sea where there 






ONE WAY OF LOVE 265 

was no vessel visible and where our schooner alone flew 
over the watery, moonlit surface like a winged flame. 

" In your working life/* he continued, gently, " you have 
done much. You have thought clearly, and you have not 
been frightened away from any eternal fact by the diffi- 
culties of research. But in your living life you have missed 
more than you will care to know. You have been content 
to remain a passive recipient of influences — ^you have not 
thoroughly learned how to combine and use them. You 
have overcome altogether what are generally the chief ob- 
stacles in the way of a woman's higher progress, — ^her in- 
herent childishness — ^her delight in imagining herself 
wronged or neglected, — her absurd way of attaching 
weighty importance to the merest trifles — ^her want of bal- 
ance, and the foolish resentment she feels at being told any 
of her faults, — ^this is all past in you, and you stand free 
of the shackles of sheer stupidity which makes so many 
women impossible to deal with from a man's standpoint, 
and which renders it almost necessary for men to estimate 
them at a low intellectual standard. For even in the su- 
preme passion of love, millions of women are only capable 
of understanding its merely physical side, while the union 
of soul with soul is never consummated : 



Where is that love supreme 
In which souls meet? Where is it satisfied? 
£n-isled on heaving sands 

Of lone desire, spirit to spirit cries, 
While float across the skies 
Bright phantoms of fair lands, 
Where fancies fade not and where dreams abide.** 



His voice dropped to the softest musical cadence, and 
I looked up. He answered my look* 



!l66 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 



«l 






Dear one f '* he said, " You shall go to the House o! 
Aselzion, and with you will be the future ! " 

He let go my hand very gently — I felt a sudden sense 
of utter loneliness. 

You do not — ^you will not misjudge me? '' I said. 

I! Dear, I have made so many errors pf judgment 
in the past and I have lost you so many times, that I shall 
do nothing now which might lose you again ! " 

He smiled, and for one moment I was impelled to throw 
hesitation to the winds and say all that I knew in my inmost 
self ought to be said, — ^but my rebellious will held me back, 
and I remained silent, — while he turned away and rejoined 
the rest of the party, with whom he was soon chatting in 
such a cheery, easy fashion that they appeared to forget 
that there was anything remarkable about him or about his 
wonderful vessel, which had now turned on her course and 
was carrying us back to Loch Scavaig at a speed which 
matched the fleetest wind. When she arrived at her former 
anchorage just opposite the ' Diana,' we saw that all the 
crew of Mr. Harland's yacht were on deck watching our 
movements, which must have been well worth watching 
considering what an amazing spectacle the ' Dream * made 
of herself and her glittering sails against the dark loch 
and mountains, — so brilliant indeed as almost to eclipse the 
Ivery moon. But the light began to pale as soon as we 
dropped anchor, and very soon faded out completely, where- 
upon the sailors hauled down canvas, uttering musical cries 
as they pulled and braced it together. This work done, 
they retired, and a couple of servants waited upon our 
party, bringing wine and fruit as a parting refreshment 
before we said good-night, — and once again the sweet voice 
of the Egyptian boy singer smote upon our ears, with a 
prelude of harp-strings : 



ONE WAY OF LOVE 267 

Ciood-nigfat, — farewell! If it should chance that nevermore we meet. 
Remember that the hours we spent together here were sweet ! 

Good-night, — farewell! If henceforth different ways of life we wend. 
Remember that I sought to walk beside you to the end ! 

Good-night, — farewell ! When present things are merged into the past, 
Remember that I love you and shall love you to the last ! 

My heart beat with a quick and sudden agony of pain — 
was it, could it be true that I was of my own accord going 
to sever myself from one whom I knew, — ^whom I felt — to 
be all in all to me? 

" Good-night 1 " said a low voice close to my ear. 

I started. I had lost myself in a wilderness of thought 
and memor)'. Santoris stood beside me. 

" Your friends are going," he said, — " and I too shall be 
gone to-morrow! " 

A wave of desolation overcame me. 

" Ah, no ! *' I exclaimed — " Surely you will not go *' 

" I must," he answered, quietly, — *' Are not you going? 
It has been a joy to meet you, if only for a little while — ^a 
pause in the journey, — ^an attempt at an understanding! — 
though you have decided that we must part again." 

I clasped my hands together in a kind of desperation. 

" What can I do ? " I murmured — " If I yielded now to 
my own impulses " 

" Ah ! If you did "—he said, wistfully—" But you will 
not; and perhaps, after all, it is better so. It is no doubt 
intended that you should be absolutely certain of yourself 
this time. And I will not stand in the way. Grood-night, — 
and farewell ! " 

I looked at him with a smile, though the tears were in 
my eyes. 

" I will not say farewell ! " I answered. 



b68 the life everlasting 

He raised my hands lightly to his lips. 

" That is kind of you ! *' he said — " and to-morrow yott 
shall hear from me about Aselzion and the best way for 
you to see him. He is spending the summer in Europe, 
which is fortunate for you, as you will not have to make 
so far a journey." 

We broke off our conversation here as the others joined 
us, — and in a very little while we had left the * Dream ' and 
were returning to our own yacht. To the last, as the motor 
launch rushed with us through the water, I kept my eyes 
fixed on the reposeful figure of Santoris, who with folded 
arms on the deck rail of his vessel, watched our departure. 
Should I never see him again, I wondered ? What was the 
strange impulse that had more or less moved my spirit to a 
kind of opposition against his, and made me so determined 
to seek out for myself the things that he assumed to have 
mastered? I could not tell. I only knew that from the 
moment he had begun to relate the personal narrative of 
his own studies and experiences, I had resolved to go 
through the same training whatever it was, and learn what 
he had learned, if such a thing were possible. I did not 
think I should succeed so well, — ^but some new knowledge I 
felt I should surely gain. The extraordinary attraction he 
exercised over me was growing too strong to resist, yet 
I was determined not to yield to it because I doubted both 
its cause and its effect. Love, I knew, could not, as he had 
said, be analysed — ^but the love I had always dreamed of 
was not the love with which the majority of mankind are 
content — the mere physical delight which ends in satiety. 
It was something not only for time, but for eternity. Away 
from Santoris I found it quite easy to give myself up to 
the dream of joy which shone before me like the mirage 
of a promised land, — ^but in his company I felt as though 



ONE WAY OF LOVE 269 

something held me back and warned me to beware of too 
quickly snatching at a purely personal happiness. 

We reached the * Diana * in a very few minutes — we 
had made the little journey almost in silence, for my 
companions were, or appeared to be, as much lost in thought 
as I was. As we descended to our cabins Mr. Harland 
drew me back and detained me alone for a moment. 

" Santoris is going away to-morrow/* he said — " He will 
probably have set those wonderful sails of his and flown 
before daybreak. I'm sorry ! " 

" So am I," I answered — *' But, after all — ^you would 
hardly want him to stay, would you? His theories of life 
are very curious and upsetting, and you all think him a 
sort of charlatan playing with the mysteries of earth and 
heaven ! If he is able to read thoughts, he cannot be alto- 
gether flattered at the opinion held of him by Dr. Brayle, 
for example ! " 

Mr. Harland's brows knitted perplexedly. 

" He says he could cure me of my illness," he went on,— 
*' and Brayle declares that a cure is impossible." 

" You prefer to believe Brayle, of course ? " I queried. 

" Brayle is a physician of note," he replied, — " A man 
who has taken his degree in medicine and knows what he 
is talking about. Santoris is merely a mystic." 

« 

I smiled a little sadly. 

"I see ! " And I held out my hand to say good-night. ^ 
" He is a century before his time, and maybe it is better to 
die than forestall a century." 

Mr. Harland laughed as he pressed my hand cordially. 

" Enigmatical, as usual ! " he said — " You and Santoris 
ought to be congenial spirits ! " ^ 

" Perhaps we are! " I answered, carelessly, as I left him; 
•— ** Stranger things than that have happened I" 



XII 



A LOVE-LETTER 

To those who are ignorant of, or indifferent to, the psy- 
chic forces working behind all humanity and creating the 
causes which evolve into effect, it cannot but seem strange, 
—even eccentric and abnormal, — ^that any one person, or 
any two persons for that matter, should take the trouble to 
try and ascertain the immediate intention and ultimate ob- 
ject of their lives. The daily routine of ordinary working, 
feeding and sleeping existence, varied by little social con- 
ventions and obligations which form a kind of break to the 
persistent monotony of the regular treadmill round, should 
be, they think, sufficient for any sane, well-balanced, self- 
respecting creature, — ^and if a man or woman elects to stand 
out of the common ruck and say : " I refuse to live in a 
chaos of uncertainties — I will endeavour to know why my 
particular atom of self is considered a necessary, if in- 
finitesimal, part of the Universe," — ^such an one is looked 
upon with either distrust or derision. In matters of love 
especially, where the most ill-assorted halves persist in fitting 
themselves together as if they could ever make a perfect 
whole, a woman is considered foolish if she gives her affec- 
tions where it is * not expedient ' — ^and a man is looked 
upon as having ' ruined his career ' if he allows a great 
passion to dominate him, instead of a calm, well-weighed, 
respectable sort of sentiment which has its fitting end in an 
equally calm, well-weighed, respectable marriage. These 

370 



A LOVE-LETTER 271 

are the laws and observances of social order, excellent in 
many respects, but frequently responsible for a great bulk 
of the misery attendant upon many forms of human rela-- 
tionship. It is not, however, possible to the ordinary mind 
to realise that somewhere and somehow, every two com- 
.ponent parts of a whole must come together, sooner or 
later, and that herein may be found the key to most of 
the great love tragedies of the world. The wrong halves 
mated, — ^the right halves finding each other out and rush- 
ing together recklessly and inopportunely because of the 
resistless Law which draws them together, — this is the 
explanation of many a life's disaster and despair, as well 
as of many a life's splendid attainment and victory. And 
the trouble or the triimiph, whichever it be, will never be 
lessened till human beings learn that in loVe, which is the 
greatest and most divine Force on earth or in heaven, the 
Soul, not the body, must first be considered, and that no 
one can fulfil the higher possibilities of his or her nature, 
till each individual unit is conjoined with that only other 
portion of itself which is as one with it in thought and in 
the intuitive comprehension of its higher needs. 

I knew all this well enough, and had known it for years, 
and it was hardly necessary for me to dwell upon it, as I 
sat alone in my cabin that night, too restless to sleep, and. 
almost too uneasy even to think. What had happened to' 
me was simply that I had by a curious chance or series of 
chances been brought into connection again with the indi- 
vidual Soul of a man whom I had known and loved ages 
ago. To the psychist, such a circumstance does not seem 
as strange as it is to the great majority of people who 
realise no greater force than Matter, and who have no com^ 
prehension of Spirit, and no wish to comprehend it, though 
even the dullest of these often find themselves brougjtit Ititfl^ 



7.J2 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

contact with persons whom they feel they have met and 
known before, and are unable to understand why they re- 
ceive such an impression. In my case I had not only to 
consider the one particular identity which seemed so closely 
connected with my own — ^but also the other individuals with 
whom I had become more or less reluctantly associated,-^ 
Catherine Harland and Dr. Brayle especially. Mr. Harland 
had[, unconsciously to himself, been merely the link to bring 
the broken bits of a chain together — ^his secretary, Mr. 
Swinton, occupied the place of the always necessary nonen* 
tity in a group of intellectually or psychically connected 
beings, — and I was perfectly sure, without having any actual 
reason for my conviction, that if I remained much longer 
in Catherine Harland's company, her chance liking for me 
would turn into the old hatred with which she had hated 
me in a bygone time, — a hatred fostered by Dr. Brayle, 
who, plainly scheming to marry her and secure her fortune, 
considered me in the way (as I was) of the influence he 
desired to exercise over her and her father. Therefore it 
leemed necessary I should remove myself, — moreover, I 
was resolved that all the years I had spent in trying to find 
the way to some, of Nature's secrets should not be wasted — ^I 
would learn, I too, what Raf el Santoris had learned in the 
House of Aselzion — ^and then we might perhaps stand oa* 
equal ground, sure of ourselves and of each other! So ran 
my thoughts in the solitude and stillness of the night — a 
solitude and stillness so profound that the gentle push of 
the water against the sides of the yacht, almost noiseless 
as it was, sounded rough and intrusive. My port-hole was 
open, and I could see the sinking moon showing through it 
like a white face in sorrow. Just then I heard a low spla$h 
as of oars. I started up and went to the sofa, where, by 
kneeling on the cushions^ I could look through the port* 



A LOVE-LETTER 273 

kole. There, gliding just beneath me, was a small boat, 
and my heart gave a sudden leap of joy as I recognised 
the man who rowed it as Santoris. He smiled as I looked 
down, — ^then, standing up in the boat, guided himself along- 
side, till his head was nearly on a level with the port-hole. 
He put one hand on its edge. 

" Not asleep yet ! " he said, softly — *' What have you 
been thinking of? The moon and the sea? — or any other 
mystery as deep and incomprehensible ? " 

I stretched out my hand and laid it on his with an in- 
voluntary caressing touch. 

" I could not leave you without another last word," — ^he 
said — " And I have brought you a letter " — ^he gave me a 
sealed envelope as he spoke — *^ which will tell you how to 
find Aselzion. I myself will write to him also and prepare 
him for your arrival. When you do see him you will 
understand how difficult is the task you wish to undertake, — 
and, if you should fail, the failure will be a greater sadness 
to yourself than to me — for I could make things easier for 
you " 

" I do not want things made easy for me," — I answered, 
quiddy — '* I want to do all that you have done — ^I want to 
prove myself worthy at least " 

I broke off, — ^and looked down into his eyes. He smiled. 

" Well ! " he said — '' Are you beginning to remember the 
happiness we have so often thrown away for a trifle ? " 

I was silent, though I folded my hand closer over his. 
The soft white sleepy radiance of the moon on the scarcely 
moving water around us made everything look dream-like 
and unreal, and I was hardly conscious of my own exist- 
ence for the moment, so completely did it seem absorbed 
by some other influence stronger than any power I had 
l^er known. 



374 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

" Here are we two," — he continued, softly — ** alone with 
the night and each other, close to the verge of a perfect 
understanding — ^and yet— determined not to understand! 
How often that happens! Every moment, every hour, all 
over the world, there are souls like ours, barred severally 
within their own shut gardens, refusing to open the doors! 
They talk over the walls, through the chinks and crannies, 
and peep through the keyholes — ^but they will not open the 
doors. How fortunate am I to-night to find even a port-hole 
open ! " 

He turned up his face, full of light and laughter, to 
mine, and I thought then, how easy it would be to fling 
away all my doubts and scruples, give up the idea of making 
any more search for what perhaps I should never find, and 
take the joy which seemed proffered and the love which my 
heart knew was its own to claim ! Yet something still pulled 
me back, and not only pulled me back, but on and away — 
something which inwardly told me I had much to learn 
before I dared accept a happiness I had not deserved. Nev- 
ertheless some of my thoughts found sudden speech. 

" Rafel " I began, and then paused, amazed at my 

own boldness in thus addressing him. He drew closer to 
me, the boat he stood in swaying under him. 

"Go on ! " he said, with a little tremor in his voice — 
"My name never sounded so sweetly in my own ears! 
What is it you would have me do ? " 

" Nothing! " I answered, half afraid of myself as I spoke 
— " Nothing — ^but this. Just to think that I am not merely 
wilful or rebellious in parting from you for a little while — 
for if it is true '* 

"If what is true?" he interposed, gently. 

" If it is true that we are friends not for a time but 
for eternity " — I said, in steadier tones — " then it can only 



A LOVE-LETTER 275 

be for a little while that we shall be separated. And then 
afterwards I shall be quite sure " 

" Yes— quite sure of what you are sure of now ! " he 
said — *' As sure as any immortal creature can be of an im- 
mortal truth ! Do you know how long we have been sep- 
arated already ? " 

I shook my head, smiling a little. 

"Well, I will not tell you!" he answered — ^''It might 
frighten you! But by all the powers of earth and heaven, 
we shall not traverse such distances apart again — ^not if I 
can prevent it ! " 

" And can you ? " I asked, half wistfully. 

" I can ! And I will ! For I am stronger than you— 
and the strongest wins! Your eyes look startled — ^there 
are glimpses of the moon in them, and they are soft eyes — 
not angry ones. I have seen them full of anger, — ^an anger 
that stabbed me to the heart! — ^but that was in the days 
gone by, when I was weaker than you. This time the 
position has changed — ^and / am master ! " 

" Not yet ! " I said, resolutely, withdrawing my hand from 
his — ^" I yield to nothing — ^not even to happiness — ^till I 
knowl " 

A slight shadow darkened the attractiveness of his fea- 
^tures. 

" That is what the world says of God — * I will not yield 
till I know ! ' But it is as plastic clay in His hands, all the 
time, and it never knows ! " 

I was silent — ^and there was a pause in which no sound 
was heard but the movement of the water under the little 
boat in which he stood. Then — 
Good-night ! " he said. 

Good-night ! " I answered, and moved by a swift im- 
pulse, I stooped and kissed the firm hand l\\aX x^^\sA '^^ 



it 



S76 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

* 

near me, gripping the edge of the port-hole. He looked 
up with a sudden light in his eyes. 

" Is that a sign of grace and consolation ? " he asked, 
smiling — " Well ! I am content I And I have waited so 
long that I can wait yet a little longer." 

So speaking, he let go his hold from alongside the yacht, 
and in another minute had seated himself in the boat and 
was rowing away across the moonlit water. I watched him 
as every stroke of the oars widened the distance between 
us, half hoping that he might look back, wave his hand, or 
even return again — ^but no! — ^his boat soon vanished Vki 
a small black speck on the sea, and I knew myself to be 
left alone. Restraining with difficulty the tears that roso 
to my eyes, I shut the port-hole and drew its little curtain 
across it — ^then I sat down to read the letter he had left with 
me. It ran as follows: 

Beloved, — 

I call you by this name as I have always called yott 
through many cycles of time, — it should sound upon your 
ears as familiarly as a note of music struck in response 
to another similar note in far distance. You are not satis- 
fied with the proofs given you by your own inner con- 
sciousness, which testify to the unalterable fact that you 
and I are, and must be, as one, — that we have played with 
fate against each other, and sometimes striven to escape 
from each other, all in vain; — it is not enough for you 
to know (as you do know) that the moment our eyes 
met our spirits rushed together in a sudden ecstasy which, 
had we dared to yield to it, would have outleaped conven- 
tion and made of us no more than two flames in one fire! 
If you are honest with yourself as I am honest with myself, 
you will admit that this is so, — that the emotion which 
overwhelmed us was reasonless, formless and wholly beyond 
all analysis, yet more insistent than any other force having 
flaim on our lives. But it is not sufficient for you tq 



A LOVE-LETTER 27^ 

realise this, — or to trace through every step of the journey 
you have made, the gradual leading of your soul to mine, — 
from that last night you passed in your own home, when 
every fibre of your being grew warm with the prescience 
of coming joy, to this present moment, even through 
dreams of infmite benediction in which I shared — ^no! — 
it is not sufficient for you ! — ^you must * know * — ^you must 
learn — ^you must probe into deeper mysteries, and study 
and suffer to the last! Well, if it must be so, it must, — 
and I shall rely on the eternal fitness of things to save you 
from your own possible rashness and bring you back to 
me, — for without you now I can do nothing more. I have 
done much— and much remains to be done— but if I am to 
attain, you must crown the attainment — if my ambition is 
to find completion, you alone can be its completeness. If 
you have the strength and the courage to face the ordeal 
through which Aselzion sends those who seek to follow his 
teaching, you will indeed have justified your claim to be 
considered higher than merest woman, — though you have 
risen above that level already. The lives of women gen- 
erally, and of men too, are so small and sordid and self- 
centred, thanks to their obstinate refusal to see anything 
better or wider than their own immediate outlook, that it 
is hardly worth while considering them in the light of that 
deeper knowledge which teaches of the real life behind the 
seeming one. In the ordinary way of existence men and 
women meet and mate with very little more intelligence or 
thought about it than the lower animals ; and the results of 
such meeting and mating are seen in the degenerate and 
dying nations of to-day. Moreover, they are content to be 
bom for no other visible reason than to die — and no matter 
how often they may be told there is no such thing as death, 
they receive the assertion with as much indignant incredulity 
as the priesthood of Rome received Galileo's assurance that 
the earth moves round the sun. But we — you and I — who 
know that life, being all Liffe, cannot die, — ought to be 
wiser in our present space of time than to doubt each 
other's infinite capability for love and the perfect world 
of beauty which love creates. / do not doubt — ^my doubt* 



278 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

ing days are past, and the whips of sorrow have lashed mt 
into shape as well as into strength, but you hesitate, — ^be- 
cause you have been rendered weak by much misunder- 
standing. However, it has partially comforted me to place 
the position fully before you, and having done this I feel 
that you must be free to go your own way. I do not say 
* I love you ! * — such a phrase from me would be merest 
folly, knowing that you must be mine, whether now or at 
the end of many more centuries. Your soul is deathless 
as mine is — it is eternally yoxmg, as mine is, — ^and the force 
that gives us life and love is divine and indestructible, so 
that for us there can be no end to the happiness which is 
ours to claim when we will. For the rest I leave you to 
decide — ^you will go to the House of Aselzion and perhaps 
you will remain there some time, — ^at any rate when you 
depart from thence you will have learned much, and you 
will know what is best for yourself and for me. 

My beloved, I commend you to God with all my adoring 
soul and am 

Your lover, 

Rafel Santoris. 

A folded paper fell out of this letter, — ^it contained full 
instructions as to the way I should go on the journey I 
intended to make to the mysterious House of Aselzion — 
and I was glad to find that I should not have to travel as 
far as I had at first imagined. I began at once to make 
my plans for leaving the Harlands as soon as possible, and 
before going to bed I wrote to my friend Francesca, who 
I knew would certainly expect me to visit her in Inverness- 
shire as soon as my cruise in the Harlands' yacht was over, 
and briefly stated that business of an important nature called 
me abroad for two or three weeks, but that I fully antici- 
pated being at home in England again before the end of 
October. As it was now just verging on the end of August, 
I thought I was allowing myself a fairly wide margin foc 



A LOVE-LETTER 279 

absence. When I had folded and sealed my letter ready 
for posting, an irresistible sense of sleep came over me, and 
I yielded to it gratefully. I found myself too overcome 
by it even to think, — ^and I laid my head down upon the 
pillows with a peaceful consciousness that all was well, — 
that all would be well — ^and that in trying to make sure of 
the intentions of Fate towards me both in life and love, I 
could not be considered as altogether foolish. Of course, 
judged by the majority of people, I know I am already 
coujited as worse than foolish for the impressions and 
experiences I here undertake to narrate, but that kind of 
judgment does not affect me, seeing that their own daily and 
hourly folly is so visibly pronoimced and has such unsatis- 
factory and frequently disastrous results, that mine — if it 
indeed be folly to choose lasting and eternal things rather 
than ephemeral and temporal ones, — cannot but seem light 
in comparison. Love, as the world generally conceives of it, 
is hardly worth having — for if we become devoted to per- 
sons who must in time be severed from us by death or other 
causes, we have merely wasted the wealth of our affections. 
Only as a perfect, eternal, binding force is love of any 
value, — ^and unless one can be sure in one's own self that 
there is the strength and truth and courage to make it 
thus perfect, eternal and binding, it is better to have noth- 
ing to do with what after all is the divinest of divine pas- 
sions, — ^the passion of creativeness, from which springs all 
thought, all endeavour, all accomplishment. 

When I woke the next morning I did not need to be told 
that the ' Dream ' had set her wonderful sails and flown. 
A sense of utter desolation was in the air, and my own 
loneliness was impressed upon me with overwhelming bit- 
terness and force. It was a calm, brilliant morning, and 
when I went up on deck the magnificeut sc^wcrj ot \-Krf^ 



28o THE UFE EVERLASTING 

Scavaig was» to my thinking, lessened in effect by the ex* 
cessive glare of the sun. The water was smooth as oil, 
and where the ' Dream ' had been anchored, showing her 
beautiful lines and tapering spars against the background 
of the mountains, there was now a dreary vacancy. The 
whole scene looked intolerably dull and lifeless, and I was 
impatient to be away from it. I said as much at breakfast, 
a meal at which Catherine Harland never appeared, and 
where I was accustomed to take the head of the table, at 
Mr. Harland's request, to dispense the tea and coffee. Dr. 
Brayle seemed malignly amused at my remark. 

" The interest of the place has evidently vanished with 
Mr. Santoris, so far as you are concerned I " he said — '' He 
is certainly a remarkable man, and owns a remarkable yacht 
— ^but beyond that I am not sure that his room is not better 
than his company." 

" I daresay you feel it so," — said Mr. Harland, who 
had for some moments been unusually taciturn and pre- 
occupied — " Your theories are diametrically opposed to 
his, and, for that matter, so are mine. But I confess I 
should like to have tested his medical skill — he assured 
me positively that he could cure me of my illness in three 
months." 

" Why do you not let him try ? " suggested Brayle, with 
an air of forced lightness — " He will be a man of miracles 
if he can cure what the whole medical profession knows 
to be incurable. But I'm quite willing to retire in his 
favour, if you wish it." 

Mr. Harland's bristling eyebrows met over his nose in 
a saturnine frown. 

" Well, are you willing ? " he said — " I rather doubt it ! 
And if you are, I'm not. I've no faith in mysticism or 
psychism of any kind. It bores me to think about it. And 



A LOVE-LETTER 281 

fiothing has puzzled me at afl concerning Santoris except 
his extraordinarily youthful appearance. That is a problem 
to me, — ^and I should like to solve it." 

"He looks about thirty-eight or forty," — ^said Brayle, 
" And I should say that is his age." 

" That his age ! " Mr. Harland gave a short, derisive 
laugh — '' Why, he's over sixty if he's a day 1 That's the 
mystery of it. There is not a touch of ' years ' about him. 
Instead of growing old, he grows yoimg." 

Brayle looked up quizzically at his patron. 

" I've already hinted," he said, " that he may not be the 
Santoris you knew at Oxford. He may be a relative, clev- 
erly masquerading as the original man " 

"That won't stand a moment's argument," interposed 
Mr. Harland — " And I'll tell you how I know it won't. 
We had a quarrel once, and I slashed his arm with a clasp- 
knife pretty heavily." Here a sudden quiver of something, 
— shame or remorse perhaps — came over his hard face and 
changed its expression for a moment. " It was all my 
.fault — ^I had a devilish temper, and he was calm — ^his calm- 
ness irritated me ; — ^moreover, I was drunk. Santoris knew 
I was drtmk, — ^and he wanted to get me home to my rooms 
and to bed before I made too great a disgrace of myself — 
then — that happened. I remember the blood pouring from 
his arm — it frightened me and sobered me. Well, when he 
came on board here the other night he showed me the scar 
of the very wotmd I had inflicted. So I know he's the same 



man." 



We all sat silent. 

" He was always studying the ' occult ' " — went on Mr. 
Harland — "And I was scarcely surprised that he should 
* think out ' that antique piece of jewellery from your pocket 
last night. He actually told me it belonged to you age» 



282 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 






ago, when you were quite another and more important 
person ! " 

Dr. Brayle laughed loudly, almost boisterously. 
What a fictionist the man must be ! " he exclaimed. 

Why doesn't he write a novel? Mr. Swinton, I wish 
you would take a few notes for me of what Mr. Santoris 
said about that collar of jewels, — I should like to keep the 
record." 

Mr. Swinton smiled an obliging assent. 

" I certainly will," — ^he said. " I was fortunately present 
when Mr. Santoris expressed his curious ideas about the 
jewels to Mr. Harland." 

"Oh, well, if you are going to record it,'* — said Mr. 
Harland, half laughingly — '* you had better be careful to put 
it all down. The collar — ^according to Santoris — belonged 
to Dr. Brayle when his personality was that of an Italian 
nobleman residing in Florence about the year 1537 — ^hc 
wore it on one unfortimate occasion when he murdered 
a man, and the jewels have not had much of a career since 
that period. Now they have come back into his posses- 



sion " 



t< 



Father, who told you all this?" 

The voice was sharp and thin, and we turned round 
amazed to see Catherine standing in the doorway of the 
saloon, white and trembling, with wild eyes looking as 
though they saw ghosts. Dr. Brayle hastened to her. 

" Miss Harland, pray go back to your cabin — ^you are 
not strong enough " 

"What's the matter, Catherine?" asked her father — 
" I'm only repeating some of the nonsense Santoris told 
me about that collar of jewels " 

"It's not nonsense!" cried Catherine. "It's all true! 
I remember it all — we planned the murder together — he and 



A LOVE-LETTER 283 



I ! " — and she pointed to Dr. Brayle — " I told him how the 
lovers used to meet in secret, — ^the poor hunted things! — 
how he — ^that great artist he patronised — came to her room 
from the garden entrance at night, and how they talked 
for hours behind the rose-trees in the avenue — and she — 
she! — I hated her because I thought you loved her — you!^* 
and again she turned to Dr. Brayle, clutching at his arm— 
" Yes — I thought you loved her ! — ^but she — she loved him! 

— ^and " here she paused, shuddering violently, and 

seemed to lose herself in chaotic ideas — " And so the yacht 
has gone, and there is peace ! — ^and perhaps we shall forget 
again! — we were allowed to forget for a little while, but 
it has all come back to haxmt and terrify us *' 

And with these words, which broke off in a kind of in- 
articulate cry, she sank downward in a swoon. Dr. Brayle 
managing to save her from falling quite to the ground. 

Everything was at once in confusion, and while the serv- 
ants were busy hurrying to and fro for cold water, smelling 
salts and other reviving cordials, and Catherine was being 
laid on the sofa and attended to by Dr. Brayle, I slipped 
away and went up on deck, feeling myself quite over- 
powered and bewildered by the suddenness and strangeness 
of the episodes in which I had become involved. In a min- 
ute or two Mr. Harland followed me, looking troubled and' 
perplexed. 

" What does all this mean ? " he said — '* I am quite at 
a loss to understand Catherine's condition. She is hys- 
terical, of course, — ^but what has caused it ? What mad idea 
has she got into her head about a murder? " 
. I looked away from him across the sunlit expanse of sea. 

" I really cannot tell you/' I said, at last — " I am quite 
as much in the dark as you are. I think she is overwrought, 
and that she has perhaps taken some of tha l\v\\v^% \&t. 



284 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

Santoris said too much to heart. Then " — ^here I hesitated 
— " she said the other day that she was tired of this 
yachting trip— in fact, I think it is simply a case of 



nerves." 



t( 



She must have very odd nerves if they persuade her to 
believe that she and Brayle committed a murder together 
ages ago " — said Mr. Harland, irritably ; — ** I nevjcr heard 
of such nonsense in all my life ! *' 

I was silent. 

" I have told Captain Derrick to weigh anchor and get 
out of this/' — ^he continued, brusquely. " We shall make 
for Portree at once. There is something witch-like and 
uncanny about the place *' — ^and he looked round as he 
spoke at the splendour of the mountains, shining with almost 
crystalline clearness in the glory of the morning sun — '^ I 
feel as if it were haunted ! " 

"By what?" I asked. 

" By memories," he answered — '* And not altogether 
pleasant ones ! " 

I looked at him, and a moment's thought decided me that 
the opportunity had come for me to broach the subject 
of my intended departure, and I did so. I said that I 
felt I had allowed myself sufficient holiday, and that it 
would be necessary for me to take the ordinary steamer 
from Portree the morning after our arrival there in order 
to reach Glasgow as soon as possible. Mr. Harland sur- 
veyed me inquisitively. 

" Why do you want to go by the steamer? " he asked — 
*' Why not go with us back to Rothesay, for example ? " 

" I would rather lose no time," — I said — ^then I added 
impulsively : — " Dear Mr. Harland, Catherine will be much 
better when I am gone — I know she will! You will be 
able to prolong the yachting trip which will benefit your 



A LOVE-LETTER 285 

health, — and I should be really most unhappy if you cur- 
tailed it on my account " 

He interrupted me. 

"Why do you say that Catherine will be better when 
you are gone ? " he demanded — " It was her own most 
X>articular wish that you should accompany us." 

" She did not know what moved her to such a desire," 
I said, — ^then, seeing his look of astonishment, I smiled; 
** I am not a congenial spirit to her, nor to any of you, 
really f but she has been most kind, and so have you — ^and 
I thank you ever so much for all you have done for me — 
you have done much more than you know ! — only I feel it 
is better to go now — ^now, before " 

" Before what ? " he asked. 

" Well, before we all hate each other ! " I said, playfully 
— " It is quite on the cards that we shall come to that ! 
Dr. Brayle thinks my presence quite as harmful to Cath- 
erine as that of Mr. Santoris; — I am full of * theories' 
which he considers prejudicial,-— and so, perhaps, they are — 
to himl '' 

Mr. Harland drew closer to me where I stood leaning 
against the deck rail and spoke in a lower tone. 

" Tell me," he said, — ** and be perfectly frank about it — 
what is it you see in Brayle that rouses such a spirit of 
antagonism in you? " 

" If I give you a straight answer, such as I feel to be 
the truth in myself, will you be offended ? " I asked. 

He shook his head. 

" No " — he answered — " I shall not be offended. I sim- 
ply want to know what you think, and I shall remember 
what you say and see if it proves correct." 

" Well, in the first place," I said — " I see nothing in Dr. 
Bra>le but what can be seen in hundreds of worldly-minded 



286 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

men such as he. But he is not a true physician, for he 
makes no real effort to cure you of your ilhiess, while 
Catherine has no illness at all that demands a cure. He 
merely humours the weakness of her nerves, a weakness 
she has created by dwelling morbidly on her own self and 
her own particular miseries, — ^and all his future plans with 
regard to her and to you are settled. They are quite dear 
and reasonable. You will die, — in fact, it is, in his opinion, 
necessary for you to die, — it would be very troublesome 
and inconvenient to him if, by some chance, you were cured, 
and continued to live. When you are gone he will marry 
Catherine, your only child and heiress, and he will have no 
further personal anxieties. I dislike this self-seeking atti- 
tude on his part, and my only wonder is that you do not 
perceive it. For the rest, my antagonism to Dr. Brayle is 
instinctive and has its origin far back — ^perhaps in a bygone 
existence 1 " 

He listened to my words with attentive patience. 

" Well, I shall study the man more carefully," — ^he said, 
after a pause ; — '* You may be right. At present I think 
you are wrong. As for any cure for me, I know there is 
none. I have consulted medical works on the subject and 
am perfectly convinced that Brayle is doing his best. He 
can do no more. And now one word to yourself ; " — ^herc 
he laid a hand kindly on mine — " I have noticed — I could 
not help noticing that you were greatly taken by Santoris — 
and I should almost have fancied him rather fascinated by 
you had I not known him to be absolutely indifferent to 
womenkind. But let me tell you he is not a safe friend 
or guide for anyone. His theories are extravagant and im- 
possible — his idea that there is no death, for example, when 
death stares us in the face every day, is perfectly absurd — 
and he is likely to lead you into much perplexity, the more 



A LOVE-LETTER 287 

80 as you are too much of a believer in occult things al- 
ready. I wish I could persuade you to listen to me seriously 
on one or two points *' 

I smiled. " I am listening! " I said. 

" Well, child, you listen perhaps, but you are not con- 
.vinced. Realise, if you can, that these fantastic chimeras 
of a past and future life exist only in the heated imagination 
of the abnormal idealist. There is nothing beyond our 
actual sight and immediate living consciousness ; — we know 
we are bom and that we die — ^but why, we cannot tell and 
never shall be able to tell. We must try and manage the 
' In-Between,' — ^the gap dividing birth and death, — ^as best 
we can, and that's all. I wish you would settle down to 
these facts reasonably — ^you would be far better balanced in 
mind and action " 

" If I thought as you do," — I interrupted him — " I would 
jump from this vessel into the sea and let the waters close 
over me! There would be neither use nor sense in living 
for an ' In-Between ' leading merely to nothingness." 

He passed his hand across his brows perplexedly. 

" It certainly seems useless," — ^he admitted — " but there 
it is. It is better to accept it than run amok among inex- 
plicable infinities." 

We were interrupted here by the sailors busying them- 
selves in preparations for getting the yacht under way, and 
our conversation being thus broken off abruptly was not 
again resumed. By eleven o'clock we were steaming out 
of Loch Scavaig, and as I looked back on the sombre moun- 
tain-peaks that stood sentinel-wise round the deeply hidden 
magnificence of Loch Coruisk, I wondered if my visionary 
experience there had been only the work of my own ex- 
cited imagination, or whether it really had foundation in 
fact ? The letter from Santoris lay against my hsaxt ^2^ 



288 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

actual testimony that he at least was real — that I had met 
and known him, and that so far as anything could be 
believed he had declared himself my * lover ' 1 But was ever 
love so expressed? — and had it ever before such a far-off 
beginning ? 

I soon ceased to perplex myself with futile speculations 
on the subject, however, and as the last peaks of the 
Scavaig hills vanished in pale blue distance I felt as if I 
had been brought suddenly back from a fairyland to a 
curiously dull and commonplace world. Everyone on board 
the * Diana ' seemed occupied with the veriest trifles, — 
Catherine remained too ill to appear all day, and Dr. Brayle 
was in almost constant attendance upon her. A vague sense 
of discomfort pervaded the whole atmosphere of the yacht, 
— she was a floating palace filled with every imaginable 
luxury, yet now she seemed a mere tawdry upholsterer's 
triumph compared with the exquisite grace and taste of 
the ' Dream ' — ^and I was eager to be away from her. I 
busied myself during the day in packing my things ready 
for departure with the eagerness of a child leaving school 
for the holidays, and I was delighted when we arrived at 
Portree and anchored there that evening. It was after 
dinner, at about nine o'clock, that Catherine sent for me, 
hearing I had determined to go next morning. I found 
her in her bed, looking very white and feeble, with a scared 
look in her eyes which became intensified the moment -shf 
saw me. 

** You are really going away ? " she said, faintly — " I 
jope we have not offended you ? " 

I went up to her, took her poor thin hand and 
kissed it. 

" No indeed ! " — I answered — '' Why should Z be 
offended ?'* 



A LOVE-LETTER 289 

" Father is vexed you are going," — she went onr — " He 
says it is all my silly nonsense and hysterical fancies— do 
you think it is ? " 

** I prefer not to say what I think," — I replied, gently, 
*' Dear Catherine, there are some things in life which cannot 
be explained, and it is better not to try and explain them. 
But believe me, I can never thank you enough for this 
yachting trip— you have done more for me than you will 
ever know I — and so far from being * offended * I am grate- 
ful ! — ^grateful beyond all words ! " 

She held my hands, looking at me wistfully. 

"You will go away," — she said, in a low tone — ^"and 
we shall perhaps never meet again. I don't think it likely 
we shall. People often try to meet again and never do— 
haven't you noticed that? It seems fated that they shall 
only know each other for a little while just to serve some 
purpose, and then part altogether. Besides, you live in a 
different world from oiu^s. You believe in things that I 
can't even understand. You think there is a God — ^and you 
think each human being has a soul " 

*'Are you not taught the same in your churches?" I 
interrupted. 

She looked startled. 

" Oh yes ! — ^but then one never thinks seriously about it f 
You know that if we did think seriously about it we could 
never live as we do. One goes to church for convention's 
sake — because it's respectable; but suppose you were to say 
to a clergyman that if your soul is ' immortal ' it follows 
in reason that it must always have existed and always will 
exist, he would declare you to be * unorthodox.' That's 
where all the puzzle and contradiction comes in — so that 
I don't believe in the soul at all." 

•* Are you sure you do not? " 1 encjuiit^, Tweasv\\i^>i% 



ago THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

She was silent. Then she suddenly broke out 

" Well, I don't want to believe in it ! I don't want to 
think about it! Fd rather not! It's terrible! If a soul 
has never died and never will die, its burden of memories 
must be awful ! — horrible ! — ^no hell could be worse I " 

" But suppose they are beautiful and happy memories? *' 
I suggested 

She shuddered. 

" They couldn't be ! We all fail somewhere." 

This was true enough, and I offered no comment. 

" I feel," — she went on, hesitatingly — '\ that you are leav- 
ing us for some xmdiscovered coxmtry — and that you will 
reach some plane of thought and action to which we shall 
never rise. I don't think I am sorry for this. I am not 
one of those who want to rise. I should be perfectly con- 
tent to live a few years in a moderate state of happiness 
and then drop into oblivion — ^and I think most people are 
like me." 

" Very unambitious ! " I said, smiling. 

" Yes — I daresay it is — ^but one gets tired of it all. Tired 
of things and people — ^at least I do. Now that man 
Santoris " 

Despite myself, I felt the warm blood flushing my 
cheeks. 

" Yes ? What of him ?" I queried, lightly. 

'* Well, I can understand that he has always been alive ! " 
and she turned her eyes upon me with an expression of 
positive dread — " Immensely, actively, perpetually alive! 
He seems to hold some mastery over the very air! I am 
afraid of him — ^terribly afraid ! It is a relief to me to know 
that he and his strange yacht have gone ! " 

*' But, Catherine," — I ventured to say — '* the yacht was 
pot really ' strange,' — it was only moved by a different ap* 



A LOVE-LETTER 291 

plication of electricity from that which the world at present 
knows. You would not call it ' strange ' if the discovery 
made by Mr. Santoris were generally adopted ? " 

She sighed. 

" Perhaps not ! But just now it seems a sort of devil's 
Tiagic to me. Anyhow, I'm glad he's gone. You're sorry, 
I suppose?" 

" In a way I am," — ^I answered, quietly — ^' I thought him 
very kind and charming and courteous — no one could be 
a better host or a pleasanter companion. And I certainly 
saw nothing * devilish ' about him. As for that collar of 
jewels, there are plenty of so-called ' thought-readers * who 
could have found out its existence and said as much of it as 
he did " 

She uttered a low cry. 

" Don't speak of it ! " she said — '^ For Heaven's sake, 
don't speak of it ! " 

She buried her face in her pillow, and I waited silently 
for her to recover. When she turned again towards me, 
she said — 

" I am not well yet, — I cannot bear too much. I only 
want you to know before you go away that I have no 
unkind feeling towards you, — things seem pushing me that 
way, but I have not really! — ^and you surely will believe 



me " 



€4 



Surely f " I said, earnestly — " Dear Catherine, do 
not worry yourself! These impressions of yours will 
pass." 

"I hope so!" she said — ^'^ I shall try to forget! And 
you — ^you will meet Mr. Santoris again, do you think ? " 

I hesitated. 

" T do not know." 

••"You seem to nave some attraction for ^a^cXv c^featf 



292 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

she went on — *' And I suppose your beliefs are alike. Tc 
me they are dreadful beliefs ! — ^worse than barbarism ! " 

I looked at her with all the compassion I truly felt 

"Why? Because we believe that God is all love and 
tenderness and justice? — because we cannot think He would 
have created life only to end in death? — because we are 
sure that He allows nothing to be wasted, not even a 
thought? — and nothing to go imrecompensed, either in 
good or in evil ? Surely these are not barbarous beliefs ? " 

A curious look came over her face. 

" If I believed in anything/' — ^she said — ** I would rather 
be orthodox, and believe in the doctrine of original sin and 
the Atonement." 

" Then you would start with the idea that the supreme 
and all-wise Creator could not make a perfect work!" I 
said — " And that He was obliged to invent a scheme to 
redeem His own failure! Catherine, if you speak of bar- 
barism, this is the most barbarous belief of all ! " 

She stared at me, amazed. 

" You would be put out of any church in Christendom 
for such a speech as that ! " she said. 

" Possibly ! " I answered, quietly — ^' But I should not and 
could not be put out of God's Universe — nor, I am certain, 
would He reject my soul's eternal love and adoration ! " 

A silence fell between us. Then I heard her sobbing. 
I put my arm round her, and she laid her head on my 
shoulder. 

" I wish I could feel as you do," — she whispered^ 
" You must be very happy ! The world is all beautiful 
in your eyes — ^and of course with your ideas it will con- 
tinue to be beautiful — ^and even death will only come to 
you as another transition into life. But you must not 
think anybody will ever understand you or believe you 



A LOVE-LETTER 293 

or follow you — people will only lode upon you as mad, 
or the dupe of your own foolish imagination ! " 

I smiled as I smoothed her pillow for her and laid her 
gently back upon it. 

** I can stand that! " I said — " If somebody who is lost 
in the dark jeers at me for finding the light, I shall not 
mind!** 

We did not speak much after that — ^and when I said 
good-night to her I also said good-bye, as I knew I should 
have to leave the yacht early in the morning. 

I spent the rest of the time at my disposal in talking 
to Mr. Harland, keeping our conversation always on the 
level of ordinary topics. He seemed genuinely sorry that 
I had determined to go, and if he could have persuaded 
me to stay on board a few days longer I am sure he would 
have been pleased. 

" I shall see you off in the morning," — ^he said — " And 
believe me I shall miss you very much. We don't agree 
on certain subjects — but I like you all the same.'* 

" That's something ! " I said, cheerfully — " It would 
never do if we were all of the same opinion ! " 

" Will you meet Santoris again, do you think ? " 

This was the same question Catherine had put to tatf 
and I answered it in the same manner. 

"I really don't know!" 

** Would you like to meet him again ? " he urged. 

I hesitated, smiling a little. 

" Yes, I think so ! " 

*' It is curious," he pursued — " that I should have been 
the means of bringing you together. Your theories of life 
and death are so alike that you must have thoughts in 
common. Many years have passed since I knew Santoris-—' 
m fact, I had completely lost sight ol Vivcci^ >i!c\s:^N^^ \ 



294 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

had never forgotten his powerful personality — and it 
sctmi rather odd to me that he should suddenly turn up 
again while you were with me " 

" Mere coincidence," — I said, lightly — ** and commor 
enough, after all. Like attracts like, you know/' 

" That may be. There is certainly something in the law 
of attraction between human beings which we do not under 
stand," — ^he answered, musingly — " Perhaps if we did '* 

He broke off and relapsed into silence. 

That night, just before going to bed, I was met by Dr. 
Brayle in the corridor leading to my cabin. I was about 
to pass him with a brief good-night, but he stopped me. 

" So you are really going to-morrow ! " he said, with 
a furtive narrowing of his eyelids as he looked at me— 

Well! Perhaps it is best! You are a very disturbing 
magnet.' 

I smiled. 
Am I ? In what way ? 

I cannot tell you without seeming to give the lie to rea- 
son," — he answered, brusquely. " I believe to a certain ex- 
tent in magnetism — in fact, I have myself tested its power 
in purely nervous patients, — ^but I have never accepted the 
idea that persons can silently and almost without conscious 
effort, influence others for either malign or beneficial pur- 
poses. In your presence, however, the thing is forced upor 
me as though it were a truth, while I know it to be c 
fallacy." 

"Isn't it too late tc talk about such things to-night?** 
I asked, wishing to cut short the conversation. 

" Perhaps it is — but I shall probably never have the 
chance to say what I wish to say," — ^he replied, — ^and he 
leaned against the stairway just where the light in the 
saloon sent forth a bright ray u^on his face, showing it 



A LOVE-LETTER 295 

to be dark with a certain frowning perplexity — " You have 
studied many things in your own impulsive feminine fash- 
ion, and you are beyond all the stupidity of the would-be 
agreeable female who thinks a prettily feigned ignorance 
becoming, so that I can speak frankly. I can now tell you 
that from the first day I saw you I felt I had known you be- 
fore — and you filled me with a curious emotion of mingled 
liking and repulsion. One night when you were sitting 
with us on deck — it was before we met that fellow San- 
toris — I watched you with singular interest— every turn of 
your head, every look of your eyes seemed familiar — ^and 
for a moment I — I almost loved you! Oh, you need not 
mind my saying this ! " — ^and he laughed a little at my invol- 
untary exclamation — ** it was nothing — it was only a pass- 
ing mood, — for in another few seconds I hated you as 
keenly! There you have it. I do not know why I should 
have been visited by these singular experiences — ^but I own 
they exist — ^that is why I am rather glad you are going." 

" I am glad, too," — ^I said — ^and I held out my hand in 
parting — *' I should not like to stay where my presence 
caused a moment's uneasiness or discomfort." 

** That's not putting it quite fairly," — he answered, taking 
my offered hand and holding it loosely in his own — " But 
you are an avowed psychist, and in this way you are a little 
* uncanny.' I should not like to offend you " 

" You could not if you tried," I said, quickly. 

" That means I am too insignificant in your mind to 
cause offence," — ^he observed — *' I daresay I am. I live on 
the material plane and am content to remain there. You 
are essaying very high flights and ascending among diffi- 
culties of thought and actica which are entirely beyond the 
useful and necessary routine of life, — ^and in the end these 
things may prove too much for you " H«t^ V«. Ax^^'^^r^ 



29S THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

my hand. '* You bring with you a certain amosphere which 
is too rarefied for ordinary mortals — it has the same effect 
as the air Oa a very high mountain on a weak heart — ^it is 
too strong — one loses breath, and the power to think coher- 
ently. You produce this result on Miss Harland, and also 
to some extent on me — even slightly on Mr. Harland, — and 
poor Swinton alone does not fall under the spell, having no 
actual brain to impress. You need someone who is accus- 
tomed to live in the same atmosphere as yourself to match 
you in your impressions and opinions. We are on a dif- 
ferent range of thought and feeling and experience — and 
you must find us almost beyond endurance '* 

" As you find me ! '' I interposed, smiling. 

" I will not say that — no ! For there seems to have been 
a time when we were all on the same plane " 

He paused, and there was a moment's tense silence. The 
little silvery chime of 9 clock in the saloon struck twelve. 

" Good-night, Dr. Brayle ! " I said. 

He lifted his brooding eyes and looked at me. 

*' Good-night ! If I have annoyed you by my scepticism 
in ^ertain matters, you must make allowances for tempera- 
ment and pardon me. I should be sorry if you bore me any 
ai-wiU " 

What a curious note of appeal there was in his voice! 
All at once it seemed to me that he was asking me to forgive 
him for that long-ago murder which I had seen reflected in 
a vision ! — and my blood grew suddenly heated with an in- 
voluntary wave of deep resentment. 

" Dr. Brayle," I said, — " pray do not trouble yourself 
to think any more about me. Our ways will always be 
apart, and we shall probably never see each other again. It 
really does not matter to you in the least what my feeling 
may be with regard to you, — it can have no influence on 



A LOVE-LETTER 297 

either your present or your future. Friendships cannot be 
commanded." 

" You will not say," he interrupted me — " that you have 
no dislike of me ? " 

I hesitated — ^then spoke frankly. 

" I will not," — I answered — " because I cannot ! " 

For one instant our eyes met — ^then came Som^ihing 
between us that suggested an absolute and irretrievable loss 
— " Not yet ! " he murmured — " Not yet ! " and with a 
forced smile, he bowed and allowed me to pass to my cabin. 
I was glad to be there — glad to be alone — ^and overwhelmed 
as I was by the consciousness that the memories of my 
soul had been too strong for me to resist, I was thankful 
that I had had the courage to express my invincible opposi- 
tion to one who had, as I seemed instinctively to realise, 
been guilty of an unrepented crime. 

That night I slept dreamlessly, and the next morning 
before seyen o'clock I had left the luxurious * Diana * for 
the ordinary passenger steamer plying from Portree to 
Glasgow. Mr. Harland kept his promise of seeing me oflf, 
and expressed his opinion that I was very foolish to travel 
with a crowd of tourists and other folk, when I might have 
had the comfort and quiet of his yacht all the way; but 
he could not move me from my resolve, though in a certain 
sense I was sorry to say good-bye to him. 

" You must write to us as soon as you get home," — ^ht 
said, at parting — " A letter will find us this week at Gair* 
loch — I shall cruise about a bit longer." 

I made no reply for the moment. He had no idea that 
I was not going home at all, nor did I intend to tell him. 

" You shall hear from me as soon as possible," — I said 
at last, evasively — ^^ I shall be very busy for a time ** 

He laughed. 



298 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 



" Oh, I know ! You are always busy ! Will you ever 
get tired, I wonder ? " 

I smiled. " I hope not ! " 

With that we shook hands and parted, and within the 
next twenty minutes the steamer had started, bearing me 
far away from the Isle of Skye, that beautiful, weird and 
mystic region full of strange legends and memories, which 
to me had proved a veritable wonderland. I watched the 
' Diana ' at anchor in the bay of Portree till I could see 
her no more, — ^and it was getting on towards noon when 
I suddenly noticed the people on board the steamer making 
a rush to one side of the deck to look at something that 
was evidently both startling and attractive. I followed 
the crowd, — and my heart gave a quick throb of delight 
when I saw poised on the sparkling waters the fairylike 
* Dream ' I — ^her sails white as the wings of a swan, and 
her cordage gleaming like woven gold in the brilliant sun- 
shine. She was a thing of perfect beauty as she seemed 
to glide on the very edge of the horizon like a vision be- 
tween sky and sea. And as I pressed forward among the 
thronging passengers to look at her, she dipped her flag in 
salutation — a salutation I knew was meant for me alone. 
When the flag ran up again to its former position, murmurs 
of admiration came from several people around me — 

" The finest schooner afloat ! " — I heard one man remark 
— " They say she goes by electricity as well as sailing 
power." 

" She's often seen about here," said another — " She be- 
longs to a foreigner — some prince or other named Santoris." 

And I watched and waited, — with unconscious tears in 
my eyes, till the exquisite fairy vessel disappeared suddenly 
as though it had become absorbed and melted into the, sun: 
then all at once I thought of the words spoken by the wild 



A LOVE-LETTER 299 

Highland * Jamie * who had given me the token of the bell- 
heather — " One way in and another way out ! One road 
to the West, and the other to the East, and round about to 
the meeting-place ! " 

The meeting-place! Where would it be? I could only 
think and wonder, hope and pray, as the waves spread their 
tilver foaming distance between me and the vanished 
'Drema' 



xin 



THE HOUSE OF ASELZION 

It is not necessary to enter into particular details of the 
journey I now entered upon and completed during the en« 
suing week. My destination was a remote and mountainous 
comer of the Biscayan coast, situated a little more than 
three days* distance from Paris. I went alonci knowing 
that this was imperative, and arrived without any untoward 
adventure, scarcely fatigued though I had travelled by night 
as well as by day. It was only at the end of my journey 
that I found myself confronted by any difficulty, and then 
I had to realise that though the ' Chateau d'Aselzion,' as it 
was called, was perfectly well known to the inhabitants of 
the surrounding district, no one seemed inclined to show me 
the nearest way there or even to let me have the accommo* 
dation of a vehicle to take me up the steep ascent which led 
to it. The Chateau itself could be seen from all parts of 
the village, especially from the seashore, over which it hung 
like a toppling crown of the fortress-like rock on which it 
was erected. 

" It is a monastery," — said a man of whom I asked the 
way, speaking in a curious kind of guttural patois, half 
French and half Spanish — " No woman goes there." 

I explained that I was entrusted with an important mes- 
sage. 

He shook his head. 

" Not for any money would I take you," he declared 
** I should be afraid for myself." 



THE HOUSE OF ASELZION 301 

Nothing could move him from his resolve, so I made 
up my mind to leave my small luggage at the inn and walk 
up the steep road which I could see winding like a width 
of white ribbon towards the goal of my desires. A group 
of idle peasants watched me curiously as I spoke to the 
landlady and asked her to take care of my few belongings 
till I either sent for them or returned to fetch them, to 
which arrangement she readily consented. She was a 
buxom, pleasant little Frenchwoman, and inclined to be 
friendly. 

" I assure you. Mademoiselle, you will return immedi- 
ately ! " she said, with a bright smile — '^ The Chateau 
d'Aselzion is a place where no woman is ever seen — ^and 
a lady alone! — ^ah, mon Dieu! — impossible! There are 
terrible things done there, so they say — it is a house of 
mystery! In the daytime it looks as it does now — dark, 
as though it were a prison! — ^but sometimes at night one 
sees it lit up as though it were on fire — every window full 
of something that shines like the sun ! It is a Brotherhood 
that lives there, — not of the Church — ^ah no ! Heaven for- 
bid! — ^but they are rich and powerful men — and it is said 
they study some strange science— our traders serve them 
only at the outer gates and never go beyond. And in the 
midnight one hears the organ playing in their chapel, and 
there is a sound of singing on the very waves of the seal 
I beg of you, Mademoiselle, think well of what you do 
before you go to such a place ! — for they will send you away 
— I am sure they will send you away ! '* 

I smiled and thanked her for her well-meant warning. 

" I have a message to give to the Master of the Brother- 
hood," I said — " If I am not allowed to deliver it and the 
gate is shut in my face, I can only come back again. But 
I must do my best to gain an entrance \i ijo%%\\Afc'' 



302 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

And with these words I turned away and commenced my 
solitary walk. I had arrived in the early afternoon and 
the sun was still high in the heavens, — ^the heat was intense 
and the air was absolutely still. As I climbed higher and 
higher, the murmuring noises of human life in the little 
village I had left behind me grew less and less and pres* 
ently sank altogether out of hearing, and I became gradu- 
ally aware of the great and solemn solitude that everywhere 
encompassed me. No stray sheep browsed on the burnt 
brown grass of the rocky height I was slowly ascending- 
no bird soared through the dazzling deep blue of the vacant 
sky. The only sound I could hear was the soft, rhythmic 
plash of small waves on the beach below, and an indefinite 
deeper murmur of the sea breaking through a cave in the 
far distance. There was something very grand in the 
silence and loneliness of the scene,— and something very 
pitiful too, so I thought, about my own self, toiling up the 
rocky path in mingled hope and fear towards that grim pile 
of dark stone towers and high forbidding walls, where it 
was just possible I might meet with but a discouraging 
reception. Yet with the letter from him who signed him- 
self * Your lover ' lying against my heart, I felt I had a 
talisman to open doors even more closely barred. Never- 
theless, my courage gav^ way a little when I at last stood 
before the heavy iron gates set in a lofty archway of stone 
through which I could see nothing but cavernous blackness. 
The road 1 had followed ended in a broad circular sweep 
opposite this archway, ^nd a few tall pines twisted and 
gnarled in bough and stem, as though the full force of many 
storm winds had battered and bent them out of their natu- 
ral shapes, were the only relief to the barrenness of the 
ground. An iron chain witli a massive ring at the end sug- 
gested itself as the possible means of pulling a bell or other- 



THE HOUSE OF ASELZION 303 

wise attracting attention ; but for some minutes I had not 
the boldness to handle it. 

I stood gazing at the frowning portal with a sense of 
utter loneliness and desolation, — the quick, resistless im- 
pulse that had fired me to make the journey and which, as 
it were, had driven me along by its own impetus, suddenly 
died away into a dreary consciousness of inadequateness 
and folly on my own part, — and I began to reproach myself 
for yielding so utterly to the casual influence of one who, 
after all, must in a reasonable way be considered a stranger. 
For what was Rafel Santoris to me? Merely an old col- 
lege friend of the man who for a fortnight had been my 
host, and with whom he chanced to renew acquaintanceship 
during a yachting tour. An3rthing more simple and utterly 
commonplace never occurred, — ^yet, here was I full of 
strange impressions and visions, which were possibly only 
the result of clever hypnotism, practised on me because the 
hypnotist had possibly discovered in my temperament some 
suitable ' subject ' matter for an essay of his skill. And I 
had so readily succumbed to his influence as to make a 
jotUTiey of hundreds of miles to a place I had never heard 
of before on the chance of seeing a man of whom I knew 
nothing! — except — ^that, according to what Rafel Santoris 
had said of him, he was the follower of a great psychic 
Teacher whom once I had known. 

Such doubtful and darkening thoughts as these, chasing 
one another rapidly through my brain, made me severely 
accuse myself of rash and unpardonable folly in all I had 
done or was doing, — ^and I was almost on the point of turn- 
ing away and retracing my steps, when a sudden ray of 
light, not of the sun, struck itself sharply as it were before 
my eyes and hurt them with its blinding glitter. It was like 
a whip of fire lashing my hesitating mind, and it st&x:^^ 



B04 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

me into instant action. Without pausing further to think 
vrhat I was about, I went straight up to the entrance of the 
Chateau and pulled at the iron chain. The gates swung 
open at once and swiftly, without sound — ^and I stepped 
into the dark passage within — whereupon they as noiselessly 
closed again behind me. There was no going back now, — 
and nerving myself to resolution, I walked quickly on 
through what was evidently a long corridor with a lofty 
arched roof of massive stone; it was dark and cool and 
refreshing after the great heat outside, and I saw a faint 
light at the end towards which I made my way. The 
light widened as I drew near, and an exclamation of relief 
and pleasure escaped me as I suddenly found myself in 
a picturesque quadrangle, divided into fair green lawns and 
parterres of flowers. Straight opposite me as I approached, 
a richly carved double oaken door stood wide open, enabling 
me to look into a vast circular domed hall, in the centre of 
which a fountain sent up tall silver columns of spray which 
fell again with a tinkling musical splash into a sunken pod 
bordered with white marble, where delicate pale blue water- 
lilies floated on the surface of the water. Enchanted by this 
glimpse of loveliness, I went straight on and entered with- 
out seeking the right of admission, — and then stood looking 
about me in wonder and admiration. If this was the House 
of Aselzion, where such difficult lessons had to be learned 
and such trying ordeals had to be faced, it certainly did not 
seem like a house of penance and mortification but rather 
of luxury. Exquisite white marble statues were set around 
the hall in various niches between banked-up masses of 
roses and other blossoms — many of them perfect copies of 
the classic models, and all expressing either strength and 
resolution, or beauty and repose. And most wonderful of 
all was the light that poured in from the high dome — I 



THE HOUSE OF ASELZION 305 

cotdd have said with truth that it was like that ' light which 
never was on sea or land.' It was not the light of the sun, 
but something more softened and more intense, and was 
totally indescribable. 

Fascinated by the restful charm of my surroundings, I 
seated myself on a marble bench near the fountain and 
watched the sparkle of the water as it rose in rainbow radi- 
ance and fell again into the darker shadows of the pool, — 
and I had for a moment lost myself in a kind of waking 
dream, — so that I started with a shock of something like 
terror when I suddenly perceived a figure approaching me, — 
that of a man, clothed in white garments fashioned some- 
what after the monastic type, yet hardly to be called a 
monk's dress, though he wore a sort of hood or cowl pulled 
partially over his face. My heart almost stopped beating 
and I could scarcely breathe for nervous fear as he came 
towards me with an absolutely noiseless tread, — ^he appeared 
to be young, and his eyes, dark and luminous, looked at me 
kindly and, as I fancied, with a touch of pity. 

" You are seeking the Master ? " he enquired, in a gentle 
voice — " He has instructed me to receive you, and when 
you have rested for an hour, to take you to his presence." 

I had risen as he spoke, and his quiet manner helped 
me to recover myself a little. 

" I am not tired," — I answered — *^ I could go to him at 
once " 

He smiled. 

" That is not possible ! " he said — " He is not ready. If 
you will come to the apartment allotted to you I am sure 
you will be glad of some repose. May I ask you to follow 
me?" 

He was perfectly courteous in demeanour, and yet there 
yfzx» a certain impressive authority about \\\ts\ \Av\O5v i^^xJ&cj 



3o6 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

impelled obedience. ' I had nothing further to demand or 
to suggest, and I followed him at once. He preceded mc 
out of the domed hall into a long stone passage, where 
every sign of luxury, beauty or comfort disappeared in cdd 
vastness, and where at every few steps large white boards 
with the word ' Silence ! ' printed upon them in prominent 
black letters confronted the eyes. The way we had to go 
seemed long and dreary and dungeon-like, but presently we 
turned towards an opening where the sun shone through, 
and my guide ascended a steep flight of stone stairs, at the 
top of which was a massive door of oak, heavily clamped 
with iron. Taking a key from his girdle, he unlocked this 
door, and throwing it open, signed to me to pass in. I did 
GO, and found myself in a plain stone-walled room with a 
vaulted roof, and one very large, lofty, uncurtained window 
which looked out upon the sea and sheer down the per- 
pendicular face of the rock on which the Chateau d'Asdzion 
was built. The furniture consisted of one small camp bed- 
stead, a table, and two easy chairs, a piece of rough matting 
on the floor near the bed, and a hanging cupboard for 
clothes. A well-fitted bathroom adjoined this apartment, 
but beyond this there was nothing of modem comfort and 
^rtainly no touch of luxury. I moved instinctively to the 
Jvindow to look out at the sea, — ^and then turned to thank 
my guide for his escort, but he had gone. Thrilled with 
a sudden alarm, I ran to the door — it was locked ! I was 
a prisoner ! I stood breathless and amazed ; — ^then a wave 
of mingled indignation and terror swept over me. How 
dared these people restrain my liberty? I looked every- 
where round the room for a bell or some means of com* 
munication by which I could let them know my mind — ^but 
there was nothing to help me. I went to the window again, 
ai?d finding it was like a French casement, merdy latched 



THE HOUSE OF ASELZION 307 

m the centre, I quickly unfastened and threw it open. The 
scent of the sea rushed at me with a delicious freshness, 
reminding me of Loch Scavaig and the ' Dream/ — and I 
leaned out, looking longingly over the wide expanse of glit- 
tering water just now broken into little crests of foam by 
a rising breeze. Then I saw that my room was a kind of 
turret chamber, projecting itself sheer over a great wall of 
rock which evidently had its base in the bed of the ocean. 
There was no escape for me that way, even if I had sought 
it. I drew back from the window and paced round and 
round my room like a trapped animal — ^angry with myself 
for having ventured into such a place, and forgetting en* 
tirely my previous determination to go through all that 
might happen to me with patience and unflinching nerve. 

Presently I sat down on my narrow camp bed and tried 
to calm myself. After all, what was the use of my anger 
or excitement? I had come to the House of Aselzion of 
my own wish and will, — and so far I had endured nothing 
difficult. Apparently Aselzion was willing to receive me 
in his own good time — ^and I had only to wait the course 
of events. Gradually my blood cooled, and in a few min- 
utes I found myself smiling at my own absurdly useless 
indignation. True, I was locked up in my own room like 
a naughty child, but did it matter so very much ? I assured 
myself it did not matter at all, — and as I accustomed my 
mind to this conviction I became perfectly composed and 
quite at home in my strange surroundings. I took off my 
hat and cloak and put them by — ^then I went into the bath- 
room and refreshed my face with delicious splashes of 
cold water. The bathroom possessed a full-length mirror 
$tted into the wall, a fact which rather amused me, as I felt 
it must have been there always and could not have been put 
up specially for me, so that it wo\Ad ^^^x«v >Jo<^Si^ \ss^^^ 



3o8 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

* Brothers ' were not without some personal vanity. I sur- 
veyed myself in it with surprise as I took down my hsai 
and twisted it up again more tidily, for I had expected to 
look fagged and tired, whereas my face presented a smiling 
freshness which was unexpected and astonishing to myself. 
The plain black dress I wore was dusty with travel — ^and 
I shook it as free as I could from railway grimness, f eding 
that it was scarcely the attire I should have chosen for an 
audience of Aselzion. 

" However/' — I said to myself — " if he has me locked up 
like this, and gives me no chance of sending for my lug- 
gage at the inn, I can only submit and make the best of it" 

And returning from the bathroom to the bedroom, I 
again lodced out of my lofty window across the sea. As 
I did so, leaning a little over the ledge, something soft and 
velvety touched my hand; — it was a red rose clambering 
up the turret just within my reach. Its opening petals lifted 
themselves towards me like sweet lips turned up for kisses, 
and I was for a moment startled, for I could have sworn 
that no rose of any kind was there when I first looked out. 
' One rose from all the roses in Heaven ! ' Where had I 
heard those words ? And what did they signify ? Then — 
I remembered! Carefully and with extreme tenderness, I 
bent over that beautiful, appealing flower : 

" I will not gather you ! " — I whispered, following the 
drift of my own dreaming fancy — " If you are a message 
— and I think you are ! — stay there as long as you can and 
talk to me ! I shall understand ! " 

And so for a while we made silent friends with each 

other till I might have said with the poet — ' The soul of 

the rose went into my blood.' At any rate something keen^ 

fine and subtle stole over my senses, moving me to an intense 

delight in merely being a\we. 1 iot^jA. lV«l I was in a 



THE HOUSE OF ASELZION 309 

strange place among strange men, — I forgot that I was to 
all intents and purposes a prisoner — I forgot everything 
except that I lived, and that life was ecstasy ! 

I had no very exact idea of the time, — my watch had 
stopped. But the afternoon light was deepening, and long 
lines of soft amber and crimson in the sky were beginning 
to spread a radiant path for the descent of the sun. While 
I still remained at the window I suddenly heard the rise 
and swell of deep organ music, solemn and sonorous; it 
was as though the waves of the sea had set themselves to 
song. Some instinct then told me there was someone in 
the room, — ^and I turned round quickly to find my former 
guide in the' white garments standing silently behind me, 
waiting. I had intended to complain at once of the way 
in which I had been imprisoned as though I were a criminal 
—but at sight of his grave, composed figure I lost all my 
hardihood and could say nothing. I merely stood still, at- 
tendant on his pleasure. His dark eyes, gleaming from 
under his white cowl, looked at me with a searching enquiry 
as though he expected me to speak, but as I continued to 
keep silence, he smiled. 

" You are very patient ! '' he said, quietly — " And that is 
well ! The Master awaits you." 

A tremor ran through me, and my heart began to beat 
violently. I was to have my wilful desires granted, then! 
I was actually to see and speak with the man to whom Raf el 
Santoris owed his prolonged youth and power, and under 
whose training he had passed through an ordeal which had 
taught him some of the deepest mysteries of life! The 
result of my own wishes seemed now so terrifying to me 
that I could not have uttered a word had I tried. I followed 
my escort in absolute silence; — once in my nervous agita- 
f on I slipped on the stone staircase and ty^MVj i^»— \>^ '^ 



3IO THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

once caught me by the hand and supported me, and the 
kindness and gentle strength of his touch renewed my cour- 
age. His wonderful eyes looked steadily into mine. 

" Do not be afraid ! " he said, in a low tone — " There 
's really nothing to fear ! " 

We passed the domed hall and its sparkling fountain, 
ind in two or three minutes came to a deep archway veiled 
by a portiere of some rich stuff woven in russet brown and 
gold, — ^this curtain my guide threw back noiselessly, show- 
ing a closed door. Here he came to a standstill and waited 
— I waited with him, trying to be calm, though my mind 
was in a perfect tumult of expectation mingled with doubt 
and dread, — that closed door seemed to me to conceal some 
marvellous secret with which my whole future life and 
destiny were likely to be involved. Suddenly it opened, — 
I saw a beautiftd octagonal room, richly furnished, with 
the v/alls lined, so it appeared, from floor to ceiling with 
books, — one or two great stands and vases of flowers made 
flashes of colour among the shadows, and a quick upward 
glance showed me that the ceiling was painted in fresco, 
then my guide signed to me to enter. 

The Master will be with you in a moment,*' — ^he said — 

Please sit down " — ^here he gave me an encouraging smile 
— " You are a little nervous — ^try and compose yourself ! 
You need not be at all anxious or frightened ! " 

I tried to smile in response, but I felt far more ready 
io weep. I was possessed by a sudden hopeless and helpless 
depression which I could not overcome. My guide went 
away at once, and the door closed after him in the same 
mysteriously silent fashion in which it had opened. I was 
left to myself, — and I sat down on one of the numerous 
deep easy chairs which were placed about the room, trying 
bard to force myself into at\e^sttVvfc^^Tc*A'axtfi^o£ qtmietude. 



it 
it 



THE HOUSE OF ASELZION 3x1 

But, after all, what was the use of even assuming com- 
posure when the man I had come to meet probably had the 
power to gauge the whole gamut of a human being's emo- 
tion at a moment's notice ? Instinctively I pressed my hand 
against my heart and felt the letter my * lover ' had given me 
— surely that was no dream ? 

I drew a long breath like a sigh, and turned my eyes 
towards the window, which was set in a sort of double 
arch of stone, and which showed me a garden stretching far 
away from the edges of soft lawns and flower borders into 
a picturesque vista of woodland and hill A warmth of rosy 
light illumined the fair scene, indicating that the glory of 
the sunset had begun. Impulsively I rose to go and look 
out — ^then stopped — checked and held back by a swift com- 
pelling awe — I was no longer alone. I was confronted by 
the tall commanding figure of a man wearing the same 
white garments as those of my guide, — a man whose sin- 
gular beauty and dignity of aspect would have enforced 
admiration from even the most callous and unobservant — 
and I knew that I was truly at last in the presence of 
Aselzion. Overpowered by this certainty, I could not speak 
—I could only look and wonder as he drew near me. His 
cowl was thrown back, fully displaying his fine intellectual 
head — ^his eyes, deep blue and full of light, studied my face 
with a keen scrutiny which I could feel as though it were 
a searching ray burning into every nook and cranny of my 
heart and soul. The blood rushed to my cheeks in a warm 
wave — ^then suddenly rallying my forces I returned him 
glance for glance. Thus we moved, each on our own lines 
of spiritual attraction, closer together ; till presently a slight 
smile brightened the gravity of his handsome features, and 
he extended both hands to me. 

*' You are welcome ! " he said, \ti z, vovc^ >3a^\. ^t:%x^isrA 



3M THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

the most perfect music of human speech — ^* Rash and un- 
disciplined as you are, you are welcome ! " 

Timidly I laid my hands in his, grateful for the warm, 
strong clasp he gave them, — then, all at once, hardly know- 
ing how it happened, I sank on my knees as before some 
saint or king, silently seeking his blessing. There was a 
moment's deep stillness, — ^and he laid his hands on my 
bowed head. 

" Poor child ! " he said, gently — ** You have adventured 
far for love and life! — it will be hard if you should fail! 
May all the powers of Gk)d and Nature help you ! " 

This said, he raised me with an infinitely courteous kind- 
ness, and placed a chair for me near a massive table-desk 
on which there were many papers — some neatly tied up and 
labelled,^-others lying about in apparent confusion — and 
when we were both seated he began conversation in the 
simplest and easiest fashion. 

" You know, of course, that I have been prepared for 
your arrival here," — ^he said — "by one of my students, 
Rafel Santoris. He has been seeking you for a long time, 
but now he has found you he is hardly better off — for you 
are a rebellious child and unwilling to recognise him — is 
it not so ? " 

I felt a little more courageous now, and answered hiir 
at once. 

" I am not unwilling to recognise any true thing," I said 
— " But I do not wish to be deceived — or to deceive 
myself." 

He smiled. 

*' Do you not ? How do you know that you have not 
been deceiving yourself ever since your gradual evolvement 
from subconscious into conscious life? Nature has not de- 
ceived 70U — Nature always takes VvetseU seriously — but you 



THE HOUSE OF ASELZION jij 

«r— have you not tried in various moods or phases of exist*- 
cnce, to do something cleverer than Nature? — ^to more or 
less outwit her as it were? Come, come!— don't look so 
puzzled about it! — you have only done what all so-called 
' reasonable ' human beings do, and think themselves justi- 
3ed in doing. But now, in your present state, — ^which is an 
advancement, and not a retrogression, — ^you have begun 
to gain a little wider knowledge, with a little deeper hu- 
mility — ^and I am inclined to have great patience with 
you!'* 

I raised my eyes and was reassured by his kindly 
glance. 

" Now, to begin with," — ^he went on — *^ you should know 
at once that we do not receive women here. It is against 
our rule and Order. We are not prepared for them, — ^we 
do not want them. They are never more than half souls ! '* 

My heart gave an indignant bound, — ^but I held my 
peace. He looked straight at me, while with one hand he 
put together a few stray papers on his desk. 

" Well, why do you not give me the obvious answer? '* 
he queried — " Why do you not say that if women are half 
souls, men are the same, — and that the two halves must 
conjoin to make one? Foolish child! — ^you need not bum 
•*vith suppressed offence at what sounds a slighting descrip- 
tion of your sex — it is not meant as such. You are half 
souls, — and the chief trouble with you is that you seldom 
have the sense to see it, or to make any endeavour to form 
the perfect and inc^i visible union, — a sacred task which is 
left in your hands. Nature is for ever working to bring 
the right halves together, — ^man is for ever striving to 
scatter them apart — ^and though it all comes right at the last, 
as it must, there is no need for delay involving either 
months or centuries. You women vjtt^ tc^ax^ \.<5 \ife ""ic^a 



314 THE LIFE EVERLASTING . 

angels of salvation, but instead of this you are the ruin of 
your own * ideals.' " 

I could offer no contradiction to this, for I felt it to be 
true. 

" As I have just said," he went on — " this is no place for 
women. The mere idea that you should imagine yoursdf , 
capable of submitting to the ordeal ci a student here is, on 
the face of it, incredible. Only for Rafel's sake have I con- 
sented to see you and explain to you how impossible it is 
that you should remain " 

I interrupted him. 

" I must remain ! " I said, firmly. " Do with me whatever 
you like — ^put me in a cell and keep me a prisoner, — give 
me any hardship to endure and I will endure it — but do not 
turn me away without teaching me something of your peace 
juid power — ^the peace and power which Rafel possesses, 
and which I too must possess if I would help him and be 
fill in all to him " 

Here I paused, overcome by my own emotion. Aselzion 
looked full at me. 

" That is your desfre ? — to help him and to be all in all 
lo him ? " he said — " Why did you not realise this agei 
figo? And even now you have wavered in the allegiance 
you owe to him — ^you have doubted him, though all youi 
inward instincts tell you that he is your soul's true mate, and 
that your own heart beats towards him like a bird in a cage 
beating against the bars towards liberty ! " ' 

I was silent. My fate seemed in a balance, — ^but I left 
it to Aselzion, who, if his power meant anything, could 
read my thoughts better than I could express them. He 
rose from his desk and paced slowly up and down, absorbed 
in meditation. Presently he stopped abruptly in front 
of me. 



THE HOUSE OF ASELZION 315 

** If you stay here/* he said — " you must tmderstand what 
it means. It means that you must dwell as one apart in 
your own room, entirely alone except when summoned to 
receive instruction — ^your meals will be served there — ^and 
you will feel like a criminal undergoing punishment rather 
than enlightenment — ^and you may speak to no one unless 
spoken to first. Moreover" — he interrupted himself and 
beckoned me to follow him into another room adjoining the 
one we were in. Here, leading me to a window, he showed 
me a very different view from the sunlit landscape and 
garden I had lately looked upon, — b, dismal square of rank 
grass in which stood a number of black crosses. 

" These do not mark deaths," — ^he said — " but failures ! 
Failures — not in a worldly sense — ^but failures in making 
of life the eternal and creative thing it is— eternal here and 
now, — as long as we shall choose ! Do you seek to be one 
of them?" 

" No,"— I answered, quietly—" I shall not fail ! " 

He gave a slight, impatient sigh. 

" So they all said — ^they whose records are here " — and 
he pointed to the crosses with an impressive gesture — 
" Some of the men who have thus left their mark with 
us, are at this moment among the world's most brilliant 
and successful personalities — wealthy, and in great social 
request, — ^and only they themselves know where the 
canker lies— only they are aware of their own futility, — 
and they live, knowing that their life must lead into other 
lives, and dreading that inevitable Change which is bound 
by law to bring them into whatever position they have 
chiefly sought ! " 

His voice was grave and compassionate, and a faint j 

I 

tremor of fear ran through me. 
** These were — ^and are — men!** — Vve coti\\xs>3L^^— ^^ ^^sA. 



3l6 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

you — a woman — ^would boldly attempt the adventures in 
which they failed! Think for a moment how weak and 
ignorant and all tmprepared you are ! When you first began 
your psychic studies with a Teacher whom we both loved 
and honoured — one whom you knew by the name of He- 
liobas — ^you had scarcely lived at all in the world; — since! 
then you have worked hard and done much, but in your 
close application to the conquest of difficulties you have 
missed many things by the way. I give you credit for pa* 
tience and faith — these have accomplished much for you — 
and now you are at a crucial point in your career when your 
Will, like the rudder of a ship, trembles in your hand, and 
you are plunging into unknown further deeps where there 
may be storm and darkness. There is danger ahead for 
any doubting, proud, or rebellious soul, — ^it is but fair to 
warn you ! " 

" I am not afraid ! " I said, in a low tone — ^* I can but 
die!" 

" Child, that is just what you cannot do ! Grasp that 
fact firmly at once and for ever! You cannot die, — ^there 
is no such thing as death ! If you could die and have done 
with all duties, cares, perplexities and struggles altogether, 
the eternal problem would be greatly simplified. But the 
idea of death is only one of a million human delusions. 
Death is an impossibility in the scheme of Life — what is 
called by that name is merely a shifting and re-investiture 
of imperishable atoms. The endless varying forms of this 
shifting and re-investiture of atoms is the secret we and 
our students have set ourselves to master — and some of us 
have mastered it sufficiently to control both the matter and 
spirit whereof we are made. But the way of learning is 
not an easy way — Rafel Santoris himself could have told 
you that he was all but o\ercom<t m iba trial — for I spare 



THE HOUSE OF ASELZION 317 

no one! — and if you persist in your rash intention I cannot 
spare you simply because of your sex/* 

"I do not ask to be spared," — ^I said, gently — "I have 
already told you I will endure an)rthing." 

A slight smile crossed his face. 

" So you will, I believe ! " he answered — " In the old 
days I can well understand your enduring martyrdom! I 
can see you facing lions in the Roman arena," — ^as he thus 
spoke I started, and the warm blood rushed to my cheeks — 
" rather than not carry out your own fixed resolve, whether 
such resolve was right or wrong ! I can see you preparing 
to drown yourself in the waters of the Nile rather than 
break through man's stupid superstition and convention! 
Why do you look so amazed? Am I touching on some 
old memory? Come, let us leave these black embers 
of coward mortality and return to the more cheerftd 



room." 



We re-entered the library together, and he seated him- 
self again at his desk, turning towards me with an air of 
settled and impressive authority. 

" What you want to learn, — ^and what every beginner in 
the study of psychic law generally wants to learn first of 
all, is how to obtain purely personal satisfaction and advan- 
tage," — he said — " You want to know three things — ^the 
secret of life — ^the secret of youth — ^the secret of love! 
Thousands of philosophers and students have entered upon 
the same research, and one perhaps out of the thousand 
has succeeded where all the rest have failed. The story 
of Faust is perpetually a thing of interest, because it treats 
of these secrets, which according to the legend are only dis- 
coverable through the aid of the devil. We know that there 
is no devil, and that everything is divinely ordained by a 
Divine Intelligence, so that in the dee^tst. t^^^:axOc^^% ^Xi^^ 



3i8 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

we are permitted to make there is nothing to fear — but 
Ourselves ! Failure is always brought about by the students, 
not by the study in which they are engaged, — the reason 
of this being that when they know a little, they think they 
know all, — with the result that they become intellectually 
arrogant, an attitude that instantly nullifies all previous at- 
tainment. The secret of life is a comparatively easy matter 
to understand — ^the secret of youth a little more difficult — 
the secret of love the most difficult of all, because out of 
love is generated both the perpetuity of life and of youth. 
Now your object in coming here is, down at the root of it, 
absolutely personal — I will not say selfish, because that 
sounds hard — and I will give you credit for the true wom- 
anly feeling you have, that being conscious in your own 
soul of Rafel Santoris as your superior and master as well 
as your lover, you wish to be worthy of him, if only in 
the steadfastness and heroism of your character. I will 
grant you all that. I will also grant that it is perfectly 
natural, and therefore right, that you should wish to retain 
youth and beauty and health for his sake, — and I would 
even urge that this desire should be solely for his sake! 
But just now you are not quite sure whether it is for his 
sake, — ^you wish to hold, for yourself, the secret of life 
and the power of life's continuance — ^the secret of youth 
and the power of youth's continuance, — ^and you most cer- 
tainly wish to have for yourself, as well as for Rafel, the 
secret of love and the power of love's continuance. None 
of these secrets can be disclosed to worldlings — ^by which 
term I mean those who allow themselves to be moved from 
their determination, and distracted by a thousand ephemeral 
matters. I do not say you are such an one, — but you, like 
all who live in the world, have your friends and acquaiiit- 
ances — people who are rea^y to laxi^Vv ^i you and make mocK 



THE HOUSE OF ASELZION 319 

of your highest aims — people whose delight would be to 
block the way to your progress — ^and the question with mc 
19 — ^Are you strong enough to endure the mental strain 
which will be put upon you by ignorant and vulgar opposi- 
tion and even positive derision? You may be, — ^you are 
self-willed enough, though not always rightly so— for exam- 
ple, you want to gain knowledge apart from and inde- 
pendently of Rafel Santoris, yet you are an incomplete 
identity without him ! The women of your day all follow 
this vicious policy — ^the desire to be independent and apart 
from men — which is the suicide of their nobler selves^ 
None of them are complete creatures without their stronger 
halves — ^they are like deformed birds with only one wing, — 
and a straight flight is impossible to them." 

He ceased, and I looked up. 

" Whether I agree with you or not hardly matters," — ^I 
said — " I admit all my faults and am ready to amend them. 
But I want to learn from you all that I may — ^all that you 
think I am capable of learning — ^and I promise absolute 
obedience " 

A slight smile lightened his eyes. 

"And humility?" 

I bent my head. 

"And humility!" 

" You are resolved, then? " 

" I am resolved ! " 

He paused a moment, then appeared to make up his 
mind. 

" So be it ! " he said — ** But on your own head be your 
own mischance, if any mischance should happen ! I take no 
responsibility. Of your own will you have come here- 
of your own will you elect to stay here, where there is 
no one of your own sex with wViom 70U c:a.T\. ^o\x^2Ctt»siNs»X^ 



320 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

— and of your own will you must accept all the conse* 
quences. Is that agreed ? " 

His steel-blue eyes flashed with an almost supernatural 
brilliancy as he put the question, and I was conscious of 
a sense of fear. But I conquered this and answered simply: 

"It is agreed!" 

He gave me a keen glance that swept me as it were 
from head to foot — ^then turning from me abruptly, struck 
a handle on his desk which set a loud bell clanging in some 
outer corridor. My former guide entered almost imme- 
diately, and Aselzion addressed him : 

" Honorius," — he said — " show this lady to her room, 
She will follow the course of a probationer and student " 
— ^as he spoke, Honorius gave me a look of tmdisguised 
amazement and pity — " The moment she desires to leave, 
every facility for her departure is to be granted to her. 
As long as she remains under instruction the rule for her, 
as you know, is solitude and silence." 

I looked at him, and thought how swiftly his face had 
changed. It was no longer softened by the grave benevo- 
lence and kindness that had sustained my courage, — 2l stem 
shadow darkened it, and his eyes were averted. I saw I 
was expected to leave the room, but I hesitated. 

" You will let me thank you," — I murmured, holding out 
my hands timidly — almost pleadingly. 

He turned to me slowly and took my hands in his own. 

" Poor child, you have nothing to thank me for ! " — ^he 
s&id. " Bear in mind, as one of your first lessons in the 
difficult way you are going, that you have nothing to thank 
anyone for, and nothing to blame anyone for in the shaping 
of your destiny but — ^Yourself! Go! — ^and may you con- 
quer your enemy ! " 



fi 



My enemy? " I repeated, -woixdetm^lY. 



THE HOUSE OF ASELZION 321 

** Yes— 'again Yourself ! The only power any man or 
woman has ever had, or ever will have, to contend with ! " 

He dropped my hands, and I suppose I must have ex- 
pressed some mute appeal in my upward glance at him, 
for the faintest shadow of a smile came on his lips. 

" Gk)d be with you ! " he said, softly, and then with a 
gentle gesture signed to me to leave him. I at once obeyed, 
and followed the guide Honorius, who led me back to my 
own room, where, without speaking a word, he closed and 
locked the door upon me as before. To my surprise, I 
found my luggage which I had left at the inn placed ready 
for me — and on a small dresser set in a niche of the wall 
which I had not noticed before, there was a plate of fruit 
and dry bread, with a glass of cold water. On going to 
look at this little refection, which was simply yet daintily 
set out, I saw that the dresser was really a small lift, evi- 
dently connected with the domestic offices of the house, and 
I concluded that this would be the means by which all my 
meals would be served. I did not waste much time in 
thinking about it, however, — I was only too glad to be 
allowed to remain in the House of Aselzion on any terms, 
and the fact that I was imprisoned tmder lock and key did 
not now trouble me. I unpacked my few things, among 
which were three or four favourite books, — ^then I sat down 
to my frugal repast, for which hunger provided a keen ap- 
petite. When I had finished, I took a chair to the open 
window and sat there, looking out on the sea. I saw my 
friendly little rose leaning its crimson head against the 
wall just below me with quite a confidential air, and it gave 
me a sense of companionship, otherwise the solitude was 
profound. The sky was darkening into night, though one 
or two glowing bars of deep crimson still lingered as mem- 
ories ot the departed sun — ^and a ptatVj T^.^vaxv«. \52^ ^Sb»- 



322 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

eastward showed a suggestion of the coming moon. I fdf 
the sense of deep environing silence closing me in like a 
wall — and looking back over my shoulder from the window 
to the interior of my room it seemed full of drifting shad- 
ows, dark and impalpable. I remembered I had no candle 
or any other sort of light — and this gave me a passing 
uneasiness, but only for a moment. I could go to bed, I 
thought, when I was tired of watching the sea. At any 
rate, I would wait for the moonrise, — the scene I looked 
upon was divinely peaceful and beautiful,— -one that a 
painter or poet would have revelled in — ^and I was content 
I was not conscious of any fear, — but I did fed myself 
being impressed as it were and gradually overcome by the 
deepening stillness and great loneliness of my surroundings. 
'The rule for her is solitude and silence.' So had said 
Aaelzion. And evidently the rule was being enforced. 



XIV 



CROSS AND STAR 

The moon rose slowly between two bars of dark cloud 
which gradually whitened into silver beneath her shining 
presence, and a scintillating pathway of diamond-like reflec- 
tions began to spread itself across the sea. I remained at 
the window, feeling an odd disinclination to turn away into 
the darkness of my room. And I began to think that per- 
haps it was rather hard that I should be left all by myself 
locked up in this way; — surely I might have been allowed 
a light of some sort ! Then I at once reproached myself for 
allowing the merest suggestion of a complaint to enter my 
mind, for, after all, I was an uninvited guest in the House 
of Aselzion — ^I was not wanted — ^and I remembered the 
order that had been issued concerning me : ' The moment 
she desires to leave, every facility for departure is to be 
granted to her.' I was much more afraid of this ' facility 
for departure' than I was of my present solitude, and I 
determined to look upon the whole adventure in the best 
and most cheerful light. If it was best I should be alone, 
then loneliness was good — ^if it was necessary i should be 
in darkness, then darkness was also agreeable to me. 

Scarcely had I thus made up my mind to these conditions 
when my room was suddenly illumined by a soft yet ef- 
fulgent radiance — and I started up in amazement, wonder- 
ing where it came from. I could see no lamps or electric 
burners, — ^it was as if the walls gloYieA V\\\v ^/csrofc ^\»HaRfc^ 

9« 



324 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

luminance. When my first surprise had passed, I was 
charmed and delighted with the warm and comforting 
brightness around me, — ^it rather reminded me of the elec- 
tric brilliancy on the sails of fhe ' Dream.' I moved away 
from the window, leaving it open, as the night was very 
close and warm, and sat down at the table to read a little, 
but after a few minutes laid the book aside to listen to 
a strange whispering music that floated towards me, appar- 
ently from the sea, and thrilled nie to the soul. No eloquent 
description could give any idea of the enthralling sweetness 
of the harmonies that were more breathed upon the air than 
sounded — ^and I became absorbed in following the rhythm 
of the delicious cadences as they rose and fell. Then by 
degrees my thoughts wandered away to Rafel Santoris, — 
where was he now? — in what peaceful expanse of shining 
waters had his fairy vessel cast anchor? I pictured him in 
my brain till I could almost see his face, — ^the broad brow, 
— ^the fearless, tender eyes and smile — ^and I could fancy 
that I heard the deep, soft accents of his voice, always so 
gentle when he spoke to me — ^me, who had half resented 
his influence ! And a quick wave of long pent-up tenderness 
rose in my heart — ^my whole soul ran out, as it were, to 
greet him with oyfstretched arms — I knew in my own con- 
sciousness that he was more than all the world to me, and 
I said aloud; — '^ My beloved, I love you! I love you! " to 
the silence, almost as if I thought it could convey the words 
to him whom most I desired to hear them. 

Then I felt how foolish and futile it was to talk to 
the empty air when I might have confessed myself to the 
real lover of my life face to face, had I been less sceptical, 
— ^less proud ! Was not my very journey to the House of 
Aselzion a testimony of my own doubting attitude? — for 
J had come, as I now admitted to myself, first to make 



CROSS AND STAR 325 

sure that Aselzion really existed — and secondly, to prove 
to my own satisfaction that he was truly able to impart the 
mystical secrets which Rafel seemed to know. I wearied 
myself out at last with thinking to no purpose, and closing 
the window I undressed and went to bed. As I lay down, 
the light in my room was suddenly extinguished, and all 
was darkness again except for the moon, which sent a clear 
white ray straight through the lattice, there being no cur- 
tain to shut it out. For some time I remained awake on my 
hard little couch, looking at this ray, and steadily refusing 
to allow any sense of fear or loneliness to gain the mastery 
over me — ^the. music which had so enchanted me ceased — 
and everything was perfectly still. And by and by my eyes 
closed — ^my tired limbs relaxed, — ^and I fell into a sotmd 
and dreamless sleep. 

When I awoke it was full morning, and the sunshine 
poiu'ed into my room like a shower of gold. I sprang 
up, full of delight that the night had passed so peacefully 
and that nothing strange or terrifying had occurred, though 
I do not know why I should have expected this. Everything 
seemed wonderfully fresh and beautiful in the brightness 
of the new day, and the very plainness of my room had 
a fascination greater than any amount of luxury. The only 
unusual thing I noticed was that the soft cold water with 
which my bath was supplied sparkled as though it were 
effervescent,— once or twice it seemed to ripple with a dia- 
mond-like foam, and it was never actually still. I watthed 
its glittering movement for some minutes before bathing 
— ^then, feeling certain it was charged with some kind of 
electricity, I plunged into it without hesitation and enjoyed 
to the utmost the delicious sense of invigoration it gave 
me. When my toilet was completed and I had attired my- 
self in a simple morning gown of whitt llxv^Xi^ ^."^ V^ffsccis^ 



326 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

more suitable to the warmth of the weather than the Uack 
one I had travelled in, I went to throw open my window 
and let in all the freshness of the sea-air, and was sur- 
prised to see a small low door open in the side of the turret, 
through which I discovered a winding stair leading 
downward. Yielding to the impulse of the moment, I de- 
scended it, and at the end found myself in an exquisite 
little rock garden abutting on the seashore. I could actu- 
ally open a gate, and walk to the very edge of the sea 
I was no longer a prisoner, thenl — I could run away if I 
chose! 

I looked about me — and smiled as I saw the impossibility 
of any escape. The little garden belonged exclusively to 
the turret, and on each side of it impassable rocks towered 
up almost to the height of the Chateau d'Aselzion itself, 
while the bit of shore on which I stood was equally hemmed 
in by huge botilders against which the waves had dashed 
for centuries without making much visible impression. Yet 
it was delightful to feel I was allowed some liberty and 
open air, and I stayed for some minutes watching the sea 
and revelling in the warmth of the southern sun. Then I 
retraced my steps slowly, looking everywhere about me as 
1 went, to see if there was anyone near. Not a soul was . 
in sight. 

I returned to my room to find my bed made as neatly 
as though it had never been slept upon, — ^and my breakfast, 
consisting of a cup of milk and some wheaten biscuits, set 
out upon the table. I was quite ready for the meal, and 
enjoyed it. When I had finished, I took my empty cup 
and plate and put them on the dresser in the niche, where- 
upon the dresser was instantly lowered, and very soon dis- 
appeared. Then I began to wonder how I should employ 
myself. It was no use writing letters, though I had mg 



CROSS AND STAk 327 

own travelling desk ready for this purpose, — I did not wish 
my friends or acquaintances to know where I was — ^and 
even if I had written to any of them it was hardly likely 
that my correspondence would ever reach them. For I felt 
sure the mystic Brotherhood of Aselzion would not allow 
me to communicate with the outside world so long as I 
remained with them. I sat meditating, — ^and I began to 
consider that several days passed thus aimlessly would 
be difficult to bear. I could not keep correct count of time, 
my watch having stopped, and there was no clock or chime 
of any sort in the place that I could hear. The stillness 
around me would have been oppressive but for the soft 
dash of little waves breaking on the beach below my win- 
dow. All at once, to my great joy, the door of my room 
opened, and the personage called Honorius altered. He 
bent his head slightly by way of salutation, and then said 
briefly, — 

'* You are commanded to follow me." 

I rose obediently, and stood ready. He looked at me 
intently and with curiosity, as though he sought to read 
my mind. Remembering that Aselzion had said I was not 
to speak unless spoken to, I only returned his look stead- 
fastly, and with a smile. 

" You are not unhappy, or afraid, or restless," — ^he said, 
slowly — " That is well ! You are making a good beginning. 
And now, whatever you see or hear, keep silence! If you 
desire to speak, speak now — ^but after we leave this room 
not a word must escape your lips — ^not a single exclama- 
tion, — your business is to listen, learn and obey ! " 

He waited; — giving me the opportunity to say something 
in reply— but I preferred to hold my peace. He then 
handed me a folded length of soft white material, opaque, 
yet fine and silky as gossamer. 



1328 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

" Cover yourself with this veil," — ^he said — *' and do not 
raise it till you return here." 

I unfolded it and threw it quickly over me — ^it was as 
delicate as a filmy cloud and draped me from head to foot, 
effectually concealing me from the eyes of others though I 
myself could see through it perfectly. Honorius then 
signed to me to follow, and I did so, my heart beating 
quickly with excitement and expectation. 

We went through many passages with intricate turnings 
that seemed to have no outlet, — ^it was like threading one's 
way through a maze — till at last I found myself shut within 
a small cell-like place with an opening in front of me 
through which I gazed upon a strange and picturesque scene. 
I saw the interior of a small but perfectly beautiful Gothic 
chapel, exquisitely designed, and lit by numerous windows 
of stained glass, through which the sunlight filtered in 
streams of radiant colour, patterning with gold, crimson 
and blue, the white marble flooring below. Between every 
tapering column that supported the finely carved roof, were 
two rows of benches, one above the other, and here sat an 
array of motionless white figures, — ^men in the garb of their 
mysterious Order, their faces almost concealed by their 
drooping cowls. There was no altar in this chapel, — ^but 
at its eastern end where the altar might have been, was a 
dark purple curtain against which blazed in brilliant 
luminance a Cross and Seven-pointed Star. The rays of 
light sh2d by this uplifted Symbol of an unwritten Creed 
were so vivid as to be almost blinding, and nearly eclipsed 
the summer glory of the sun itself. Awed by the strange 
and silent solemnity of my surroundings, I was glad to be 
hidden under the folds of my enshrouding white veil, 
though I realised that I was in a sort of secret recess made 
purposely for the use of those who were summoned to se^ 



CROSS AND STAR 329 

all that went on in the chapel without being seen. I waited, 
full of eager anticipation, — ^and presently the low vibrating 
sound of the organ trembled on the air, gradually increas- 
ing in volume and power till a magnificent rush of music 
poured from it like a sudden storm breaking through clouds. 
I drew a long breath of pure ecstasy, — I could have knelt 
and wept tears of gratitude for the mere sense of hearing! 
Such music was divine! — ^the very idea of mortality was 
swallowed up in it and destroyed, and the imprisoned soul 
mounted up to the highest life on wings of light, rejoicing! 
When it ceased, as it did all too soon, there followed 
a profound silence, — so profotmd that I could hear the 
quick beating of my own heart as if I were the only living 
thing in the place. I turned my eyes towards the dazzling 
Cross and Star with its ever darting rays of fiery brilliancy, 
and the effect of its perpetual sparkle of lambent fire was 
as if an electric current were giving off messages which 
no mortal skill would ever be able to decipher or put into 
words, but which found their way to one's deepest inward 
consciousness. All at once there was a slight movement 
among the rows of white-garmented, white-cowled figures 
hitherto sitting so motionless, — and with one accord they 
rose to their feet as a figure, tall, stately and imposing, 
came walking slowly across the chapel and stood directly 
in front of the flaming Symbol, holding both hands out- 
stretched as though invoking a blessing. It was the Master, 
Aselzion, — ^Aselzion invested with such dignity and splen- 
dour as I had never thought possible to man. He might 
have posed for some god or hero, — ^his aspect was one of 
absolute power and calm self-poise,— other men might en- 
tertain doubts of themselves at the intention of their lives, i 
but this one in his mere bearing expressed sureness, strengjth \ 
and authority. He wore his covA thto^tw \s^^, ^asA V^^^ksw 



330 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

where I sat in my secluded comer I cotild see his features 
distinctly, and could watch the flash of his fine steadfast 
eyes as he turned them upon his followers. Keeping his 
hands extended, he said, in a firm, clear voice : 

" To the Creator of all things visible and invisible let us 
offer up our gratitude and praise, and so begin this day ! " 

And a responsive murmur of voices answered him : 

" We praise Thee, O Divine Power of Love and Life 
eternal ! 

We praise Thee for all we are ! 

We praise Thee for all we have been ! 

We praise Thee for all we hope to be ! — ^Amen." 

There followed a moment's tense silence. Then the as- 
sembled brethren sat down in their places, and Aselzion 
spoke in measured, distinct accents, with the easy and as* 
sured manner of a practised orator. 

" Friends and Brethren ! 

" We are gathered here together to consider in this 
moment of time the things we have done in the past, and 
the things we are preparing to do in the future. We know 
that from the Past, stretching back into infinity, we have 
ourselves made the Present, — ^and according to Divine law 
we also know that from this Present, stretching forward 
into infinity, we shall ourselves evolve all that is yet To 
Come. There is no power, no deity, no chance, no ' fortu- 
itous concurrence of atoms ' in what is simply a figure of 
the Universal Mathematics. Nothing can be ' forgiven ' 
under the eternal law of Compensation, — ^nothing need be 
'prayed for,' since everytVivivg'\s Afc^v^^^LVo ^^yy^^xxv^Ush each 



CROSS AND STAR 331 

individual spirit's ultimate good. You are here to leam not 
only the secret of life, but something of how to live that 
life; and I, in my capacity, am only striving to teach what 
Nature has been showing you for thousands of centuries, 
though you have not cared to master her lessons. The 
science of to-day is but Nature's first primer — ^a spelling-, 
book as it were, with the alphabet set out in pictures. You 
are told by sagacious professors, — who after all are no 
more than children in their newly studied wisdom, — ^that 
human life was evolved in the first instance from proto^ 
plasm — ^as they think, — but they lack the ability to tell you 
how the protoplasm was itself evolved — and why; where 
the material came from that went to the making of millions 
of solar systems and trillions of living organisms concern- 
ing whose existence we have no knowledge or perception. 
Some of them deny a God, — ^but most of them are driven 
to confess that there must be an Intelligence, supreme and 
omnipotent, behind the visible Universe. Order cannot 
come out of Chaos without a directing Mind; and Order 
would be quickly submerged into Chaos again were not 
the directing Mind of a nature to sustain its method and 
condition. 

" We start, therefore, with this Governing Intelligence 
or directing Mind, which must, like the brain of man, be 
dual, combining the male and female attributes, since we 
see that it expresses itself throughout all creation in dual 
form and type. Intelligence, Mind, or Spirit, whichever we 
may elect to call it, is inherently active and must find an 
outlet for its powers, — ^and the very fact of this necessity 
produces Desire to perpetuate Itself in varied ways: this 
again is the first attribute of Love. Hence Love is the 
foundation of worlds, and the source of all living organ- 
isms, — ^the dual atoms, or ions of spirit ajcid xoa^^x ^V^^iMji. 



332 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

to Attraction^ Union and Reproduction. If we master this 
fact reasonably and thoroughly, we shall be nearer the com- 
prehension of life." 

He paused a moment, — ^then advanced a step or two 
and went on, the flaming Symbol behind him seeming lit- 
erally to envelop him in its beams. 

" What we have to learn first of all is, how these laws 
affect us as individual human beings and as separate per- 
sonalities. It is necessary to avoid all obscurity of language 
in setting forth the simple principles which should guide 
and preserve each human existence, and my explanation 
shall be as brief and plain as I can make it. Granted that 
there is a Divine Mind or Governing Intelligence behind the 
infinitude of vital and productive atoms which in their 
union and reproduction build up the wonders of the Uni- 
verse, we see and admit that one of the chief results of 
the working of this Divine Mind is Man. He is, so we 
have been told — ' the image of God.' This expression may 
be taken as a poetic line in the Scriptures, meaning no 
more than poetic imagery, — ^but it is nevertheless a truth. 
Man is a kind of Universe in himself — ^he too is a con- 
glomeration of atoms — ^atoms that are active, reproductive, 
and desirous of perpetual creativeness. Behind them, as in 
the nature of the Divine, there is the Governing Intelli- 
gence, the Mind, the Spirit, — dual in type, double-sexed in 
action. Without the Mind to control it, the constitution 
of Man is chaos, — ^just as the Universe itself would be 
without the Creator's governance What we have chiefly 
to remember is, that just as the Spirit behind visible Na- 
ture is Divine and eternal, so is the Spirit behind each one 
of our individual selves also Divine and eternal. It has 
BEEN always, — it will be always, and we move as distinct 
personalities through successive phases of life, each one 



CROSS AND STAR 333 

tinder the influence of his or her own controlling Soul, to 
higher and ever higher perception and attainment. The 
great majority of the world's inhabitants live with less con- 
sciousness of this Spirit than flies or worms — ^they build up 
religions in which they prate of God and immortality as 
children prattle, without the smallest effort to understand 
either, — ^and at the Change which they call death, they pass 
out of this life without having taken the trouble to dis- 
cover, acknowledge or use the greatest gift God has be- 
stowed upon them. But we, — ^we who are here to realise 
the existence of the all-powerful Force which gives us com- 
plete mastery over the things of space and time and matter 
— we, who know that over that individual moving universe 
of atoms called Man, It can hold absolute control, — ^we 
can prove for ourselves that the whole earth is subject to 
the dominance of the immortal Soul, — ay! — and the very 
elements of air, fire and water 1 — for these are but the min- 
isters and servants to Its sovereign authority ! '* 

He paused again — and after a minute or two of silence, 
went on — 

" This beautiful earth, this over-arching sky, the exquisite 
things of Nature's form and loveliness, are all given to 
Man, not only for his material needs, but for his spiritual 
growth and evolvement. From the light of the sun he 
may draw fresh warmth and colour for his blood — from the 
air new supplies of life — from the very trees and herbs 
and flowers he may renew his strength, — ^and there is noth- 
ing created that is not intended to add in some measure to 
his pleasure and well-being. For if the foundation of the 
Universe be Love, as it is, then Love desires to see its crea- 
tures happy. Misery has no place in the Divine scheme vf i 
things — it is the result of Man's own opposition to Natural '^ 
I^w. In Natural Law, all things work caXsol^ ^ ^^^N:^ "«s^ 



334 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

steadfastly together for good — ^Nature silently obeys God's 
ordinance. Man, on the contrary, questions, argues, de- 
nies, rebels, — with the result that he scatters his force and 
fails in his highest effort. It is in his own power to renew 
his own youth — ^his own vitality, — ^yet we see him sink of 
his own accord into feebleness and decrepitude, giving him- 
self up, as it were, to be devoured by the disintegrating 
influences which he could easily repel. For, as the directing 
Spirit of God governs the infinitude of atoms and star-dust 
which go to make up universes, so the mind of a Man 
should govern the atoms and star-dust of which he himself 
is composed — guiding their actions and renewing them at 
pleasure, — forming them into suns and systems of thought 
and creative power, and wasting no particle of his eternal 
life forces. He can be what he elects to be, — a god,— or 
merely one of a mass of units in embryo, drifting away 
from one phase of existence to another in unintelligent 
indifference, and so compelling himself to pass centuries 
of aimless movement before entering upon any marked or 
decisive path of individual and separate action. The 
greater number prefer to be nothings in this way, though 
they cannot escape the universal grinding mill, — ^they must 
be used for some purpose in the end, be they never so 
reluctant. Therefore, we, who study the latent powers of 
man, judge it wiser to meet and accept our destiny rather 
than fall back in the race and allow destiny to overtake us 
and whip us into place with rods of sharp experience. If 
there is anyone here present who now desires to speak, — 
to ask a question, — or deny a statement, let him come 
forward boldly and say what he has to say without 
fear.' 

As he thus spoke, I, looking from my little hidden recess, 
saw a movement among the seated brethren; one of them 






CROSS AND STAR 335 

#ose and descending from his place, walked slowly towards 
Aselzion till he was within a few paces of him — ^then he 
paused, and threw back his cowl, showing a worn hand- 
some face on which some great sorrow seemed to be marked 
too strongly to be ever erased. 

" I do not wish to live ! " — ^he said — ^^ I came here to 
study life, but not to learn how to keep it* I would lose 
it gladly for the merest trifle! For life is to me a bitter 
thing — a hideous and inexplicable torment! Why should 
you, O Aselzion, teach us how to live long ? Why not rather 
teach us how to die soon ? " 

Aselzion's eyes were bent upon him with a grave and 
tender compassion. 

' " What accusation do you bring against life ? " he asked 
How has life wronged you? " 

How has life wronged me?" and the unhappy man 
threw up his hands with a gesture of desperation — ^^ You, 
who profess to read thought and gauge the soul, can you 
ask? How has life wronged me? By sheer injustice! 
From my first breath — for I never asked to be bom! — 
from my early days when all my youthful dreams and 
aspirations were checked, smothered and killed by loving 
parents! — Gloving parents, forsooth! — ^whose idea of 'love' 
was money ! Every great ambition frustrated — every higher 
jhope slain! — ^and in my own love — ^that love of woman 
which is man's chief curse— even she was false and worth- 
less as a spurious coin— caring nothing whether my life was 
saved or ruined — it was ruined, of course ! — but what mat- 
ter? — ^who need care! Only the weariness of it all! — the 
day after day burden of time ! — ^the longing to lie down and 
hide beneath the comfortable grass in peace, — ^where no 
false friend, no treacherous love, no * kind ' acquaintances, 
glad to see me suffer, can ever point their mockm.% b^\!ksia» 



336 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

or round their cruel eyes at me again ! Aselzion, if the God 
you serve is half as wicked as the men He made, then 
Heaven itself is Hell!" 

He spoke deliberately, yet with passion. Aselzion silently 
regarded him. The fiery Cross and Star blazed with strange 
colours like millions of jewels, and the deep stillness in the 
chapel was for many minutes unbroken. All at once, as 
though impelled by some irresistible force, he sank on his 
knees. 

" Aselzion ! As you are strong, have patience with the 
weak! As you see the Divine, pity those who are blind! 
As you stand firm, stretch a hand to those whose feet arc 
on the shifting quicksands, and if death and oblivion are 
among the gifts of your bestowal, withhold them not from 
me, for I would rather die than live ! " 

There was a pause. Then Aselzion's voice, calm, clear 
and very gentle, vibrated on the silence. 

"There is no death!" he said — ^"You cannot die! 
There is no oblivion, — ^you may not forget! There is but 
one way of life — ^to live it ! " 

Another moment's stillness — ^then again the steady, reso- 
lute voice went on. 

" You accuse life of injustice, — it is you who are unjust 
to life! Life gave you those dreams and aspirations you, 
speak of, — it was in your power to realise them ! I say it' 
was in your power, had you chosen! No parents, no 
friends, not God Himself, can stop you from doing what 
you will to do! Who frustrated any great ambition of 
yours but yourself ? Who can slay a hope but him in whose 
soul it was bom? And that love of woman? — ^was she 
your true mate?— or only a thing of eyes and hair and 
vanity? Did your passion touch her body only, or did it 
reach her Soul ? Did you seek to know whether that Soul 



CROSS AND STAR 337 

had ever wakened within her, or were you too well satisfied 
with her surface beauty to care ? In all these things blame 
Yourself, not life! — for life gives you earth and heaven, 
time and eternity for the attainment of joy — ^joy, in 
which, but for Yourself, there would never be a trace of 
sorrow ! " 

The kneeling penitent — for such he now appeared to be 
—covered his face with his hands. 

" I cannot give you death," — continued Aselzion — " You 
can take what is called by that name for yourself if you 
choose — ^you can by your own action, sudden or premedi- 
tated, destroy this present form and composition of your- 
self for just so long as it takes the forces of Nature to 
build you up again — ^an incredibly brief moment of time! 
But you gain nothing — ^you neither lose your consciousness 
nor your memory ! Ponder this well before you pull down 
your present dwelling-house! — for ingratitude breeds nar- 
rowness, and your next habitation might he smaller and less 
fitted for peace and quiet breathing ! " 

With these words, gently spoken, he raised the penitent 
from his knees, and signed to him to return to his place. 
He did so obediently, without another word, pulling his 
cowl closely about him so that none of his fellow-brethren 
might see his features. Another man then stepped forward 
and addressed Aselzion. 

" Master " — ^he said, " would it not be better to die than 
to grow old? If, as you teach us, there is no real death, 
should there be any real decay ? What pleasure is there in 
life when the strength fails and the pulses slacken — ^when 
the warm blood grows chill and stagnant, and when even 
those we have loved consider we have lived too long? I 
who speak now am old, though I am not conscious of age- 
but others are conscious for me, — ^thdt looka^ \Jwt\x ^^^'^^s^ 



338 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

imply that I am in their way — ^that I am slowly d}ring like 
a lopped tree and that the process is too tedious for their 
impatience. And yet — I could be young! — my powers of 
work have increased rather than lessened — I enjoy life more 
than those that have youth on their side — ^but I know I 
carry the burden of seventy years upon me, and I say that 
surely it is better to die than live even so long! " 

Aselzion, standing in the full light of the glittering Cross 
and Star, looked upon him with a smile. 

" I also carry the burden — if burden you must call it — 
of seventy years ! " he said — ** But years are nothing to me 
— they should be nothing to you. Who asked you to count 
them or to consider them? In the world of wild Nature, 
time is measured by seasons only — ^the bird does not know 
how old it is — ^the rose-tree does not count its birthdays! 
You, whom I know to be a brave man and patient student, 
have lived the usual life of men in the world — ^you are 
wedded to a woman who has never cared to understand the 
deeper side of your nature, and who is now far older than 
you, though in actual years younger, — ^you have children 
who look upon you as their banker merely and who, while 
feigning affection, really wait for your death with eager- 
ness in order to possess your fortune. You might as well 
have never had those children! — I know all this as yoti 
yourself know it — I also know that through the word-im- 
pressions and influence of so-called ' friends ' who wish to 
persuade you of your age, the disintegrating process has 
begun, — but this can be arrested. You yourself can arrest 
it! — ^the dream of Faust is no fallacy! — only that the re- 
newal of youth is not the work of magic evil, but of natural 
good. If you would be young, leave the world as you have 
known it and begin it anew, — Cleave wife, children, friends, 
all that hang like ftmgi upon an oak, rotting its trunk and 



CROSS AND STAR 339 

sapping its strength without imparting any new form of 
vitality. Live again — ^love again ! " 

" I ! " — ^and he who was thus spoken to threw back his 
cowl, showing a face wan and deeply wrinkled, yet striking 
in its fine intellectuality of feature — " I ! — with these white 
/hairs! You jest with me, Aselzion! " 

" I never jest! " — replied Aselzion — ^* I leave jesting to 
the fools who prate of life without comprehending its first 
beginnings. I do not jest with you — ^put me to the proof t 
Obey my rules here but for six months and you shall pass 
out of these walls with every force in your body and spirit 
renewed in youth and vitality! But Yourself must work 
the miracle, — ^which, after all, is no miracle ! Yourself must 
build Yourself! — as everyone is bound to do who would 
make the fullest living out of life. If you hesitate, — if you 
draw back,— if you turn with one foolish regret or morbid 
thought to your past mistakes in life which are past — to 
her, your wife, a wife in name but never in soul, — ^to your 
children, bom of animal instinct but not of spiritual deep 
love, — ^to those your * friends * who coimt up your years 
as though they were crimes, — ^you check the work of re- 
invigoration, and you stultify the forces of renewal. You 
must choose — and the choice must be voluntary and de- 
liberate, — for no man becomes aged and effete without his 
own intention and inclination to that end, — ^and equally, no 
man retains or renews his youth without a similar intention 
and inclination. Take two days to consider — ^and then tell 
me your mind." 

The man he thus addressed hesitated as though he had 
something more to say — ^then with a deep obeisance went 
back to his place. Aselzion waited till he was seated — and . 
after the brief interval spoke again — 

" If all of you here present are cotA.ew\. >«>^ ^^n^x ts^ 



340 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

of life in this place, and with the studies you are under* 

taking, and none of you wi^h to leave, I ask for the usual 

• *f 

sign. 

All the brethren rose, and raised their arms above their 
heads— dropping them slowly again after a second's pause. 

" Enough ! " and Aselzion now moved towards the Cross 
ind Star, fronting it fully. As he did so, I saw to my as- 
tonishment and something of terror that the rays proceeding 
from the centre of the Symbol flamed out to an extraor- 
dinary length, surrounding his whole figure and filling the 
chapel with a lurid brilliancy as though it were suddenly on 
fire. Straight into the centre of the glowing flames he 
steadily advanced — ^then, at a certain point, turned again and 
faced his followers. But what an aspect now was his ! The 
light about him seemed to be part of his very body and gar- 
ments — ^he was transfigured into the semblance of something 
god-like and angelic — ^and I was overcome with fear and 
awe as I looked upon him. Lifting one hand, he made the 
sign of the cross, — whereat the white-robed brethren de- 
scended from their places, and walking one by one in line, 
came up to him where he stood. He spoke — ^and his voice 
rang out like a silver clarion — 

" O Divine Light ! " he exclaimed — *' We are a part of 
Thee, and into Thee we desire to become absorbed ! From 
Thee we know we may obtain an immortality of life upon 
Ais gracious earth! O Nature, beloved Mother, whose 
bosom bums with hidden fires of strength, we are thy chil- 
dren, born of thee in spirit as in matter, — in us thou hast 
distilled thy rains and dews, thy snows and frosts, thy sun- 
light and thy storm ! — in us thou hast embodied thy prolific 
beauty, thy productiveness, thy power and thy advancement 
towards good — and more than all thou hast endowed us 
.with the divine passion oi Ljon^ \qVv\dv kindles the firo 



CROSS AND STAR 341 

whereof thou art created and whereby we are sustained 1 
Take us, O Light < Keep us, O Nature ! — ^and Thou, O God, 
Supreme Spirit of Love, whose thought is Flame, and whose 
desire is Creation, be Thou our guide, supporter and in- 
structor through all worlds without end ! Amen ! " 

Once more the glorious music of the organ surged 
through the chapel like a storm, — and I, trembling in every 
limb, knelt, covering my veiled face closely with my hands, 
overcome by the splendour of the sound and the strangeness 
of the scene. Gradually, very gradually, the music died 
away — ^a deep silence followed — ^and when I lifted my head, 
the chapel was empty ! Aselzion and his disciples had van- 
ished, noiselessly, as though they had never been present. 
Only the Cross and Star still remained glittering against 
its dark purple background— dartir'^ out long tremulous 
rays, some of which were pale violet, others crimson, others 
of the delicate hues of the pink topaz. 

i looked round, — ^then behind me, — ^and to my surprise 
saw that the door of my little recess had been unlocked 
and left open. Acting on an impulse too strong to resist, 
I stole softly out, and stepping on tiptoe, scarcely daring 
to breathe, I found my way through a low archway into 
the body of the chapel, and stood there all alone, my heart 
beating loudly with positive terror. Yet there was nothing 
to fear. No one was near me that I could see, but I felt 
as if there were thousands of eyes watching me from the 
roof, from behind the columns, and from the stained-glass 
windows that shed their light on the marble pavement. And 
the glowing radiance of the Cross and Star in all that still- 
ness was almost terrible! — the long bright rays were like 
tongues of fire mutely expressing unutterable things I Fas* 
cinated, I drew nearer and nearer — ^then paused abruptly, 
checked by a kind of vibration \mdtt xcv^, •as* ^<:>j\x^ '^ossk 



342 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

ground rocked — presently, however, I gained fresh courage 
to go on, and by degrees was drawn into a perfect vortex 
of light which rushed upon me like great waves on all sides 
80 forcibly that I had hardly any knowledge of my own 
movements. Like a creature in a dream I moved, — ^my 
very hands looked transparent and spirit-like as I stretched 
them out towards that marvellous Symbol ! — and when my 
eyes glanced for a moment at the folds of my covering 
veil I saw that its white silkiness shone with a pale ame- 
thystine hue. On— on I went, — ^ desperate idea possessing 
me to go as far as I could into that strange starry centre 
of living limiinance — the very boldness of the thought ap- 
palled me even while I encouraged it — but step by step I 
went on resolutely till I suddenly felt myself caught as it 
were in a wheel of fire ! Round and round me it whirled, — 
darting points of radiance as sharp as spears which seemed 
to enter my body anc" stab it through and through — ^I strug- 
gled for breath and tried to draw back, — ^impossible! I 
was tangled up in a net of endless light-vibrations which, 
though they gave foith no heat, yet quivered through my 
whole being with searching intensity as though bent on 
probing to the very centre of my soul ! I could not utter 
a sound, — I stood there dumb, immovable, and shrouded 
in million-coloured flame, too stunned with the shock to 
•ealise my own identity. Then all at once something dark 
and cool floated over me like the shadow of a passing cloud 
—I looked up and strove to utter a cry, — a word of appeal! 
—and then fell to the groimd, lost in complete uncon« 
sciousness. 



XV 



A FIRST LESSON 

I DO not know how long I lay there lost to sight and 
dense, but when I came to myself, I was in a quiet, shadowy 
place, like a kind of little hermitage, with a window opening 
out upon the sea. I was lying on a couch, with the veil 
I had worn still covering me, and as I opened my eyes and 
looked about me I saw that it was night, and that the moon 
was tracing a silver network of beams across the waves. 
There was a delicious fragrance on the air — it came from 
a group of roses stt in a tall crystal vase close to where 
I lay. Then, as I gradually regained full knowledge of my 
own existence, I perceived a table in the room with a lamp 
burning upon it, and at the table sat no less a personage 
than Aselzion himself, reading. I was so amazed at the 
sight of him that for the moment I lay inert, afraid to 
.Tiove — for I was almost sure I had incurred his displeasure 
— ^till suddenly, with the feeling of a child seeking pardon 
for an offence, I sprang up and ran to him, throwing myself 
on my knees at his feet. 

" Aselzion, forgive me ! " I murmured — " I have done 
wrong — I had no right to go so far " 

He turned his eyes upon me, smiling, and took me gently 
bv the hands. 

" Who denies your right to go far if you have the strength 
and courage ? " — ^he said — " Dear child, I have nothing to 
forgive! You are the maker of your own destiny! But 
you have been bold ! — though you are a mere woman yoa 

343 



344 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

have dared to do what few men attempt. This is the 
power of love within you — ^that perfect love which casteth 
out fear ! You risked a danger which has not harmed you 
—you have come out of it unscathed, — so may it be with 
every ordeal through which you may yet be tried as by 
5re ! " 

He raised me from where I knelt, — ^but I still held hit 
hands. 

" I could not help it ! " I said—" Your command for me 
was ' silence and solitude ' — ^and in that silence and solitude 
I remained while I watched you all, — and I heard every- 
thing that was said — this was your wish and order. And 
when you all went away, the silence and solitude would have 
been the same but for that Cross and Star ! They seemed 
to speak 1 — to call me — to draw me to them — and I went— 
hardly knowing why, yet feeling that I mast go! — and 
then " 

Aselzion pressed my hands gently. 

" Then the Light claimed its own," — ^he said — ^^ and cour- 
age had its reward ! The door of your recess in the chapel 
was opened by my instructions, — ^I wished to see what you 
would do. You have no conception as yet of what you 
have done! — ^but that does not matter. You have passect 
one test successfully — for had you remained passive in your 
plac^e till someone came to remove you, I should have known 
you for a creature of weak will and transitory impulses. 
But you are stronger than I thought — so to-night I have 
come to give you your first lesson." 

" My first lesson ! " I repeated the words after him won- 
deringly as he let go my hands and put me gently into a 
chair which I had not perceived but which stood in the 
sh^ow cast by the lamp almost immediately opposite to 
bun. 



A FIRST LESSON 345 



U 



Yes ! — your first lesson ! " he answered, smiling gravely 
— " The first lesson in what you have come here to learn, — 
the perpetuation of your life on earth for just so long as 
you desire it — ^the secret which gives to Rafel Santoris his 
youth and strength and power, as well as his governance 
over certain elemental forces. But first take this " — ^and 
he poured out from a quaintly shaped flask a full glass of 
deep red-coloured wine — " This is no mag^'c potion- -it is 
simply a form of nourishment which will be safer for you 
than solid food, — and I know you have eaten nothing 
all day since your light breakfast. Drink it all — every 
drop!" 

I obeyed — ^it seemed tasteless and strengthless, like pure 
water. 

" Now " — ^he continued — :" I will put before you a very 
simple illustration of the truth which underlies all Nature. 
If you were taken into a vast plain, and there saw two 
opposing armies, the one actuated by a passion for destruc- 
tion, the other moved only by a desire for good, you would 
naturally wish the latter force to win, would you not ? " 

I answered " Yes " at once, without hesitation. 

" But suppose " — he went on — " that both armies were 
actuated by good, and that the object of the destroying force 
was only to break down what was effete and mischievous, 
in order to build it up again in stronger and nobler forms, 
while the aim of the other was to strictly preserve and 
maintain the advantages it possessed, which side would 
then have your sympathy?" 

I tried to think, but could not instantly determine. 

" Here is your point of hesitation," — ^he said — *' and here 
the usual limit of human comprehension. Both forces are 
good, — ^but as a rule we can only side with one. We name 
that one Life, — ^the other Death. ^N^ \3cC\TisL \i&fc '^^^soa. 



346 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

stands for what is living, and that Death is a kind of cessa- 
tion of Life instead of being one of Life's most active 
forms. The Universe is entirely composed of these two 
fighting forces — we call them good and evil — but there is 
no evil — there is only a destruction of what might be harm- 
ful if allowed to exist. To put it clearly, the million mil- 
lions of atoms and electrons which compose the everlasting 
elements of Spirit and Matter are dual — that is to say, of 
two kinds — those which preserve their state of equilibrium, 
and those whose work is to disintegrate, in order to build 
up again. As with the Universe, so with the composition 
of a human being. In you, as in myself, there exist these 
two forces — ^and our souls are, so to speak, placed on guard 
between them. The one set of atoms is prepared to main- 
tain the equilibrium of health and life, but if through the 
neglect and unwatchf ulness of the sentinel Soul any of them 
are allowed to become disused and effete, the other set, 
whose business it is to disintegrate whatever is faulty and 
useless for the purpose of renewing it in better form, begins 
to work — ^and this disintegrating process is our conception 
of decay and death. Yet, as a matter of fact, such process 
cannot even begin without our consent and collusion. Life 
can be retained in our possession for an indefinite period on 
this earth, — but it can only be done through our own actions 
^-our own wish and will." 

I looked at him questioningly. 

" One may wish and will many things," — ^I said — " But 
the result is not always successful." 

** Is that your experience?" he asked, bending his keen 
eyes full upon me — ** You know, if you are true to yourself, 
that no power can resist the insistence of a strong Will 
brought steadily to bear on any intention. If the effort 
fails, it is only because the Will has hesitated* What have 



A FIRST LESSON 347 

you made of some of your past lives — ^you and your lover 
both — ^through hesitation at a supreme moment ! " 

I looked at him appealingly. 

" If we made mistakes, could we altogether help it ? " I* 
asked — " Does it not seem that we tried for the best ? " 

He smiled slightly. 

" Nq, it does not seem so to me," — he replied — " The 
mainspring of your various previous existences, — ^the law 
of attraction drawing you together was, and is. Love. This 
you fought against as though it were a crime, and in many 
cases you obeyed the temporary conventionalities of man 
rather than the unchanging ordinance of God. And now — 
divided as you have been — ^lost as you have been in endless 
whirlpools of infinitude, you are brought together again — 
and though your lover has ceased to question, you have 
not ceased to doubt ! " 

" I do not doubt ! '* I exclaimed, suddenly, and with pas- 
sion — " I love him with all my soul ! — ^I will never lose him 
again ! " 

Aselzion looked at me questioningly. 

" How do you know you have not lost him already ? " 
he said. 

At this a sudden wave of despair swept over me — ^a chill 
sense of emptiness and desolation. Could it be possible 
that my own rashness and selfishness had again separated me 
from my beloved ? — for so I now called him in my heart — 
had I by some foolish, distrustful thought estranged him 
once more from my soul ? The rising tears choked me — I 
rose from my seat, hardly knowing what I did, and went 
to the window for air — ^Aselzion followed me and laid his 
hand gently on my shoulder. 

" It is not so difficult to win love as to keep it ! " — ^he 
said — '* Misunderstanding, and waal oi q^vO^l 's^xsssg^fi&Niv 



348 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

end in heart-break and separation. And this is far worse 
than what mortals call death." 

The burning tears fell slowly from my eyes— every word 
seemed to pierce my heart — I looked yearningly out on the 
sea, rippling under the moon. I thought of the day, barely 
a week ago, when Raf el stood beside me, his hand clasping 
mine, — such a little division of time seemed to have elapsed 
since we were together, and yet how long! At last I 
spoke — 

'' I would rather die, if death were possible, than lose 
his love " — ^I said — " And where there is no love, sturdy 
there must be death ? " 

Aselzion sighed. 

" Poor child ! Now you understand why the lonely Soul 
hurls itself wildly from one phase of existence to another 
till it finds its true mate ! " — he answered—" You say truly 
that where there is no love there is no real life. It is merely 
a semi-conscious existence. But you have no cause to 
grieve — ^not now, — not if you are firm and faithful. Rafel 
Santoris is safe and well — ^and his soul is so much with you 
— ^you are so constantly in his thoughts, that it is as if be 
were himself here — see ! " 

And he placed his two hands for a moment over my eyes 
and then removed them. I uttered a cry of ecstasy — for 
there before me on the moonlit water I saw the ' Dream ' !— 
her sails glittering with light, and her aerial shape clearly 
defined against the sky! Oh, how I longed to fly across 
the strip of water which alone seemed to divide us! — ^and 
once more to stand on the deck beside him whom I now 
oved more than my very hopes of heaven! But I knew 
it was only a vision conjured up before me by the magic 
of Aselzion, — sl magic used gently for my sake, to help 
and comfort me in a moment oi ^dsaft&^ ^nd heart's longing. 



A FIRST LESSON 349 



And I watched, knowing that the picture must fade,- 
it slowly did, — ^vanishing like a rainbow in a swirl of 
cloud. 

" It is indeed a ' Dream ' ! " I said, smiling faintly, as I 
turned again to Aselzion — " I pray that love itself ma^ 
never be so fleeting ! ** 

" If love is fleeting, it is not love 1 " — ^he answered — *' Ar 
ephemeral passion called by that name is the ordinary sort 
of attraction existing between ordinary men and women, — 
men, who see no farther than the gratification of a desire, 
and women, who see no higher than the yielding to that 
desire. Men who love in the highest and most faithful 
meaning of the term, are much rarer than women, — women 
are very near the divine in love when it is first awakened 
in them — if afterwards they sink to a lower level, it is gen- 
erally the men who have dragged them down. Unless a 
man is bent on the highest, he is apt to settle on the lowest 
— ^whereas a woman generally soars to the highest ideals at 
first in the blind instinct of a Soul seeking its mate — ^how 
often she is hurled back from the empyrean only the angels 
know! Not to all is given power to master and control 
the life- forces — and it is this I would have you understand 
before I leave you to-night. I can teach you the way to 
hold your life safely above all disintegrating elements — ^but 
the learning of the lesson rests with yourself." 

He sat down, and I resimied my place in the chair oppo- 
site to him, prepared to hear him with the closest attention. 
There were a few things on the table which I had not 
previously noticed, and one of these was a circular object 
covered with a cloth. He removed this covering, and 
showed me a crystal globe which appeared to be full of 
some strange volatile fluid, clear in itself, but intersected 
with endless floating brilliant dots ^nd \m<^. 



3SO THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

" Look well at this " — he said — " for here you have a 
very simple manifestation of a great truth. These dots and 
lines which you observe perpetually in motion are an epit- 
ome of what is going on in the composition of every human 
being. Some of them, as you see, go in different directions, 
yet meet and mingle with each other at various points of 
convergence — ^then again become separated. They are the 
building-up and the disintegrating forces of the whole 
cosmos — and — mark this well! — ^they are all, when unim- 
prisoned, directed by a governing will-power. You, in your 
present state of existence, are simply an organised Form, 
composed of these atoms, and your will-power, which is 
part of the Divine creative influence, is set within you to 
govern them. If you govern them properly, the building-up 
and revivifying atoms within you obey your command, and 
with increasing strength gradually control and subdue their 
disintegrating opponents,— opponents which after all are 
only their servants, ready to disencimiber them from all 
that is worthless and useless at the first sign of disablement. 
There is nothing more simple than this law, which has only 
to be followed in order to preserve both life and youth. It 
as all contained in an effort of the will, to which every- 
thing in Nature responds, just as a well-steered ship obeys 
the compass. Remember this welll — I say, everything in 
Nature! This crystal globe holds momentarily imprisoned 
atoms which cannot just now be directed because they arc 
shut in, away from all Will to govern them — ^but if I left 
them as they are for a few more hours their force would 
shatter the crystal, and they would escape to resume their 
appointed way. They are only shown to you as an object 
lesson, to prove that such things are — ^they are facts, not 
dreams. You, like this crystal globe, are full of imprisoned 
atoms— atoms of Spirit and lAatter which -v^rotk together 



353 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

3nce givt an impetus to the disintegrating forces within 
you to begin their work — and you gradually become ill, 
timorous, and diseased in mind and body. If, on the con- 
trary, your thoughts are centred on health, vitality, youth, 
joy, love and creativeness, you encourage all the revivifying 
elements of your system to build up new nerve tissue and 
fresh brain cells, as well as to make new blood. No scientist 
has ever really discovered any logical cause why human 
beings should die — ^they are apparently intended to live for 
an indefinite period. It is they themselves who kill them- 
selves, — even so-called ' accidents ' are usually the result of 
their own carelessness, recklessness or inattention to warn- 
ing circumstance. I anf trying to put all this as simply as 
I can to you, — ^there are himdreds of books which you 
might study, in which the very manner of expression is 
so abstruse and involved that even the most cultured intelli- 
gence can scarcely grasp it, — but what I have told you is 
perfectly easy of comprehension, — ^the only difficulty lies 
in its practical application. To-night, therefore, and for 
the remainder of the time you are here, you will enter upon 
certain tests and trials of your will-force — and the result 
of these will prove whether you are strong enough to be 
successful in your quest of life and youth and love. If 
you are capable of maintaining the true attitude, — if you 
can find and keep the real centre-poise of the Divine Image 
within you, all will be well. And remember, that if you 
once learn how to govern and control the atomic forces 
within yourself, you will equally govern and control all 
atomic forces which come within your atmosphere. This 
gives you what would be called by the ignorant * miracu- 
lous ' power, though it is no miracle. It is nothing more 
than the attitude of Spirit controlling Matter. You will 
£nd yourself not only able to govern your own forces but 



A FIRST LESSON 353 

also to draw upon Nature for fresh supplies — ^the air, 
the sunshine, the trees, the flowers, will give you all they 
have to give on demand — ^and nothing shall be refused 
to you. *Ask, and ye shall receive — ^seek, and ye shall 
find — knock, and it shall be opened unto you.' Naturally 
the law is, that what you receive you must give out again 
in an ungrudging outflow of love and generosity and 
beneficence and sjmipathy, not only towards mankind but 
to everything that lives — for as you are told — * Give, and 
it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down 
and shaken together and running over, shall men give into 
your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete 
withal, it shall be measured to you again.' These sayings 
of our greatest Master are heard so often that they are 
considered by many people almost trite and commonjilace, 
—but they hold a truth from which we cannot escape. 
Even such a little matter as a kind word is paid back to 
the one who uttered it with a double interest of kindness, 
while a cruel or coarse one carries its own punishment. 
Those who take without giving are generally unsuccessful 
in their lives and aims — ^while those who give without 
taking appear to be miraculously served by both fame and 
fortune, — ^this being merely the enactment of the spiritual 
law." 

" I do not want fame or fortune," — I said — ** Love i^ 
enough for me ! " 

Aselzion smiled. 

" Enough for you indeed ! My child, it is enough for 
all! If you have love, you have entered into the secret 
mind of God! Love inspires all nobleness, all endurance, 
all courage, — ^and I think you have some of its attributes, i 
for you have been bold in your first independent essay— •! 
and it is this very boldness that V\as \ito>x^ \jofe*:^isss^*^ 



354 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

speak to you to-night. You have, of your own accord, 
and without preparation, passed what we students and 
mystics call ' the first circle of fire/ and you are therefore 
ready for the rest of your trial. So I will now take you 
back to your own room and leave you there, for you must 
face your ordeal alone." 

My heart sank a little, but I said nothing, and watched 
him as he took up the crystal globe, full of the darting 
lines and points of light gleaming like imprisoned fire, 
and held it for a moment between his two hands. Then 
he set it down again, and covered it as it had been covered 
before. The next moment he had extinguished the lamp, 
and we stood together in the pale brilliancy of the moon- 
light which now spread itself in a broad path of silver across 
':he sea. The tide was coming in, and I heard the solemn 
sound of rising waves breaking rhythmically upon the 
shore. In silence Aselzion took me by the hand and led 
me through a low doorway out of the little hermitage into 
the open air, where we stood within a few feet of the sea. 
The moonbeams bathed us in a shower of pearly radiance, 
and I turned instinctively to look at my companion. His 
face appeared transfigured into something of supernatural 
beauty, and for one second the remembrance of how he had 
said in the chapel that he carried the burden of seventy 
years upon him flashed across me with a shock of surprise. 
Seventy years! He appeared to be in the very prime and 
splendour of life, and the mere idea of age as connected 
with him was absurd and incongruous. And while I gazed 
upon him, wondering and fascinated, he lifted one hand as 
though in solemn invocation to the stars that gleamed in 
their countless millions overhead, and his voice, deep and 
musical, rang out softly yet clearly on the silence : — 

** O Supreme Guide of all the worlds created, accept this 



A FIRST LESSON 335 

Soul which seeks to be consecrated unto Thee! Help her 
to attain to all that shall be for her wisdom and betterment, 
and make her one with that Nature whereof she is bom. 
Thou, silent and peaceful Night, invest her with thy deep 
.ranquillity ! — ^thou, bright Moon, penetrate her spirit with 
the shining in of holy dreams! — ^give her of thy strength 
and depth, O Sea ! — and may she draw from the treasures 
of the air all health, all beauty, all life, all sweetness, so 
:hat her existence may be a joy to the world, and her love 
a benediction ! Amen ! " 

My whole being thrilled with a sense of keen rapture as 
he thus prayed for me, — I could have knelt to him in rever- 
ence but that I instinctively knew he would not wish this 
act of homage. I felt that it was best to keep silence, and 
I obeyed his guiding touch as, still holding my hand, he 
led me into a vaulted stone passage and up a long winding 
stair at the head of which he paused, and taking a key 
from his girdle, unlocked a small door. 

" There is your room, my child," — ^he said, with a grave 
kindliness which moved me strangely — '' Farewell ! The 
future is with yourself alone." 

I clung to his hand for an instant. 

" Shall I not see you again? " I asked, with a little tremor 
"n my voice. 

"Yes — ^you will see me again if you pass your ordeal 
iUccessfuUy " — ^he answered — ** Not if you fail." 

" What will happen if I fail? " 

" Nothing but the most ordinary circumstance," — ^he an- 
swered — " You will leave this place in perfect safety and 
return to your home and your usual avocations, — ^you will 
live as most women live, perhaps on a slightly higher grade i 
of thought and action — and in time you will come to look f 
utK^n your visit to the House of Aselxlow ^s» \Jc«. \srx^s^ 



3S6 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

wilful escapade of folly I The world and its conventions 
will hold you " 

" Never 1 " I exdaimed, passionately — " Aselzion, I will 
not fail ! " 

He looked earnestly in my face — then laid his hands on 
my head in a mute blessing, and signed to me to pass mto 
my turret room. I obeyed. He closed the door upon me 
instantly — I heard the key turn in the lock — and then — 
just the faint echo of his retreating footsteps down the 
winding stair. My room was illumined by a very faint 
light, the source of which I knew not. Everything was as 
I had left it before I had been summoned to the mysterious 
Chapel of the Cross and Star, — ^and I looked about me, 
tranquillised by the peace and simplicity of my surround- 
ings. I did not feel disposed to sleep, and I resolved to 
write down from memory all that Aselzion had told me 
while it was fresh in my mind. The white veil I had been 
given still clung about me, — I now took it off and carefully 
folded it ready for further use if needed. Sitting down at 
the little table, I took out pen, ink and paper, — ^but some- 
how I could not fix my attention on what I intended to do. 
The silence around me was more intense than ever, and 
though my window was open I could not even hear the 
murmur of the sea. I listened — ^hardly drawing breath — 
there was not a sound. The extraordinary silence deepened 
—•and with it came a sense of cold ; I seemed to be removed 
into a place apart, where no human touch, no human voice 
could reach me, — and I felt as I had never felt in all my 
life before, that I was indeed utterly alone. 



XVI 



SHADOW AND SOUND 

The stillness deepened. It seemed to myself that I could 
hear the quickened beating of every pulse in my body. A 
curious vague terror began to possess me, — I fought against 
its insidious influence, and bending my head down over 
the paper I had set out before me, I prepared to write. 
After a few minutes I managed to gain some control over 
my nerves, and started to put down clearly and in sequence 
the things Aselzion had told me, though I knew there was 
little danger of my ever forgetting them. And then — a 
sudden sensation came over me which forced me to realise 
that something or someone was in the room, looking stead- 
fastly at me. 

With an effort, I raised my head, and saw nothing at 
first — ^then, by degrees, I became aware that a Shadow, dark 
and impenetrable, stood between me and the open window. 
At first it seemed simply a formless mass of black vapour, — 
but very gradually it assumed the outline of a Shape which 
did not seem human. I laid down my pen, — ^and, with my 
heart thumping hammer-strokes of fear, looked at this 
strange Darkness gathered as it were in one place and 
blocking out the silver gleam of the moon. As I looked, 
all the light in my room was suddenly extinguished. A cry 
rose involuntarily to my lips — ^and physical fright began 
to gain the mastery over me. For with the increasing 
gloom the mysterious Shadow grew more and more defined 



I 

i 



358 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 



blackness standing out as it were against another blade* 
ness, — ^the pale glint of the moonbeams only illumining 
it faintly as a cloud may be edged with a suggestion of 
light. It was not motionless, — ^it stirred now and then as 
though about to lift itself to some supernatural stature and 
bend above me or swoop down upon me like an embodies 
storm, — and as I still gazed upon it f earingly, every nervt 
strained to an almost unsupportable tension, I could hare 
sworn that two eyes, large and luminous, were fixed with 
a searching, pitiless intensity on mine. It is impossible to 
describe what I felt, — a sense of sick, swooning horror over- 
came me, — ^my head swam giddily, and I could not now 
utter a sound. 

Trembling violently, I rose to my feet in a kind of me- 
chanical impulse, determined to turn away from the dread- 
ful contemplation of this formless Phantom, when suddenly^ 
as if by a lightning flash of conviction, the thought came 
to me that it was not by coward avoidance that I could 
expect to overcome either my own fears or the nameless 
danger which apparently threatened me. I closed my eyes 
and retreated, as it were, within myself to find that centre- 
poise of my own spirit which I knew must remain an in- 
vincible force despite all attack, being in itself immortal,— 
and I mentally barricaded my soul with thoughts of armec 
resistance. Then, opening my eyes again, I saw that the 
Shadow loomed blacker and vaster — while the luminance 
around it was more defined, and was not the radiance of 
the moon, but some other light that was ghostly and terri- 
fying. But I had now regained a little courage, — ^and slight 
as it was I held to it as my last hope, and gradually steadied 
myself upon it like a drowning creature clinging to a plank 
for rescue. Presently I found myself able to ask questions 
of my inner consciousness. What, after all, could diU 



SHADOW AND SOUND 359 

Phantom — ^if Phantom it were— do to work me harm? 
Could it kill me with sheer terror? Surely in that case 
the terror would be my own fault, for why should I be 
afraid ? The thing called Death being no more than a 
Living Change did it matter so much when or how the 
change was effected ? 

" Who is responsible," — I said to myself — ** for the sense 
of fear? Who is it that so mistrusts the Divine order of 
the Universe as to doubt the ultimate intention of good- 
ness in things which appear evil ? Is it not I alone who am 
the instigator of my own dread ? — ^and can this dark, dumb 
Spectre do more to me than is ordained for my blessing in 
the end?" 

With these thoughts I grew bold — ^my nervous trembling 
ceased. I now chose deliberately to consider, and willed 
to determine, that this mysterious Shadow, darker still as 
it grew, was something of a friend in disguise. I lifted 
my head half defiantly, half hopefully in the gloom, and the 
strange fact that the only light I saw came from the weirdly 
gleaming edge of radiance roimd the Phantom itself did not 
frighten me from the attitude I had resolved upon. The 
more I settled myself into that attitude the firmer it became 
—and the stronger grew my courage. I gently moved aside 
the table on which I had been writing, and stood up. Once 
on my feet I felt still bolder and surer of myself, and 
though the Shadow opposite to me looked darker and more 
threatening than before, I began to move steadily towards 
it. I made an effort to speak to it, and at last found my 
voice. 

" Whatever you are," I said aloud, *' you cannot exist at 
all without God's will! God ordains nothing that is not j 
for good, therefore you cannot be here with any evil pur- I 
pose I If I am afraid of you, my ftai \a xa^ oww^^^^^rssr^i* 



36o THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

I will not look at you as a thing that can or would do me 
harm, and therefore I am coming to you to find out your 
meaning! You shall prove to me what you are made of, 
to the very depth and heart of your darkness I — ^you shall 
imveil to me all that you hide behind your terrifying aspect, 
— because I know that whatever your intention towards me 
may be, you cannot hurt my Soul ! " 

As I spoke I drew nearer and nearer — and the luminous 
edge round the Phantom grew lighter and lighter, till — 
suddenly a flash of brilliant colour like a rainbow glittered 
full on my eyes so sharply that I fell back, half blinded 
by its splendour. Then — ^as I looked — I dropped to my 
knees in speechless awe — for the Shadow had changed to 
a dazzling Shape of winged radiance, — 3, figure and face 
so glorious that I could only gaze and gaze, with all my 
soul entranced in wonder I I heard delicious music around 
me, but I could not listen — ^all my soul was in my eyes. The 
Vision grew in stature and in splendour, and I stretched 
out my hands to it in prayerful appeal, conscious that I 
was in the shining Presence of some inhabitant of higher 
and more heavenly spheres than ours. The beautiful head, 
crowned with a diadem of flowers like white stars, bent 
towards me — ^the luminous eyes smiled into mine, and a 
v^oice sweeter than all sweet singing spoke to me in accents 
of thrilling tenderness. 

" Thou hast done well! " it said — " Even so always ap- 
proach Darkness without fear! Then shalt thou find the 
Light ! Meet Sorrow with a trusting heart — ^so shalt thou 
discover an angel in disguise ! God thinks no evil of thee — 
desires no wrong towards thee — has no punishment in store 
for thee — ^give Thyself into His Hand, and be at peace I " 

Slowly, — ^like the colours of the sunset melting away into 
the grey of twilight, the Vision faded, — and when I recov- 



SHADOW AND SOUND 361 

cred from the dazzled bewilderment into which I had been 
thrown, I found myself again in complete solitude and dark- 
ness—darkness unrelieved save by the dim light of the 
setting moon. I was for a long time unable to think of 
anything but the strange experience through which I had 
just passed — and I wondered what would have happened 
if instead of boldly advancing and confronting the dark 
Phantom which had so terrified me I had striven to escape ' 
from it ? I believed, and I think I was right in my belief, 
that I should have found every door open, and every facility 
offered for a cowardly retreat had I chosen to make it. 
And then— everything would have been at an end! — ^I 
should have probably had to leave the House of Aselzion — 
and perhaps I too should have been marked with a black 
cross as a failure! Inwardly I rejoiced that so far I had 
not given way, and presently yielding to a drowsiness that 
began to steal over me, I undressed and went to bed, per- 
fectly tranquil in mind and happy. 

I must have slept several hours when I was awakened 
suddenly by the sound of voices conversing quite close to 
me — in fact, they seemed to be on the other side of the 
wall against which my bed was placed. They were men's 
voices, and one or two were curiously harsh and irritable 
in tone. There was plenty of light in my room — for the 
night had passed, and as far as I could tell it seemed to 
be early morning. The voices went on, and I found myself 
compelled to listen. 

" Aselzion is the cleverest humbug of his time," — said 
one — " He is never so happy as when he can play the little 
god and dupe his worshippers ! " 

A laugh followed this sentence. J 

" He's a marvel in his way," — said another — " He must|^ 
be a kind of descendant of some atic\^tA. "^^g5^>c»xv ^:js^Ya!« 



g62 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

who had the trick of playing with fire. There is nothing 
in the line of so-called miracle he carniot do, — and of 
course those who are ignorant of his methods, and who are 
credulous themselves " 

" Like the woman here," — -interposed the first voice. 

" Yes — ^like the woman here — ^little fool ! " — and there 
was more laughter — " Fancying herself in love with Rafel 
Santoris ! " 

I sat up in bed, straining my ears now for every word. 
My cheeks were burning — ^my heart beating — I hardly knew 
what to think. There was a silence for two or three min- 
utes — ^minutes that seemed like ages in my longing to hear 
more. 

" Santoris always managed to amuse himself ! " — said a 
thin, sharp voice with a mocking ring in its tone — ^* There 
was always some woman or other in love with him. Some 
woman he could take in easily, of course ! " 

" Not difficult to find ! " — ^rejoined the first voice that had 
spoken, " Most women are blind where their affections are 
concerned." 

" Or their vanity ! " 

Another silence. I rose from my bed, shivering with a 
sense of sudden cold, and threw on my dressing-gown. 
Going to the window, I looked out on the fair expanse of 
the calm sea, silver-grey in the early dawn. How still and 
peaceful it looked ! — what a contrast to the storm of doubt 
and terror that was beginning to rage within my own heart! 
Hush! The voices began again. 

" Well, it's all over now, and his theory of perpetuating 
life at pleasure has come to an tmtimely end. Where did 
the yacht go down ? " 

'* Off Armadale, in Skye." 

For a moment I could tvot tt».l\s^ NwV\a.t had been said. 



SHADOW AND SOUND 363 

and tried to repeat both question and answer — ' Where did 
the yacht go down ? * * Off Armadale, in Skye.' 

What did it mean? — ^The yacht? Gone down? What 
yacht? They were talking of Santoris— of Rafel, my be- 
loved ! — my lover, lost through ages of time and space, and 
foimd again only to be once more separated from me 
through my own fault — ^my own fault! — that was the 
horror of it — a horror I could not contemplate without an 
almost maddening anguish. I ran to the wall through which 
I had heard the voices talking and pressed my ear against 
it, murmuring to myself — *' Oh no ! — it is not possible ! — 
not possible ! God would not be so cruel ! " For many min- 
utes I heard nothing — and I was rapidly losing patience 
and self-control, when at last I heard the conversation 
resumed, — " He should never have risked his life in such 
a vessel " — said one of the voices in a somewhat gentler 
tone — " It was a wonderfully clever contrivance, but the 
danger of all that electricity was obvious. In a storm it 
would have no chance." 

" That has been thoroughly proved," — answered another 
voice — " Just half a gale of wind with a dash of thunder 
and lightning, and down it went, with every soul on board." 

" Santoris might have saved himself. He was a fine 
swimmer." 

"Was he?" 

Another silence. I thought my head would have burst 
with its aching agony of suspense, — ^my eyes were burning 
like hot coals with a weight of unshed tears. I felt that 
I could have battered down the wall between me and those 
torturing voices in my feverish desire to know the worst — 
the worst at all costs! If Rafel were dead — but no! — he j 
could not die ! He could not actually perish — ^but he could ] 
be parted from me as he had been patted b^iot^ — '^sA\r-* 



364 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

I should be alone again — alone as I had been aU my life! 
And in my foolish pride I had voluntarily severed myself 
from him ! — ^was this my punishment ? More talking began, 
and I listened, like a criminal listening to a cruel sentence. 

"Aselzion will tell her, of course. Rather a difficult 
business! — ^as he will have to admit that his teachings are 
not infallible. And on the whole there was something very 
taking about Santoris — I'm sorry he's gone. But he would 
only have fooled the woman had he lived." 

" Oh ! That, naturally ! But that hardly matters. She 
would only have had herself to blame for falling into the 
trap." 

I drew myself away from the wall, trembling and sick 
with dread. Mechanically I dressed myself, and stared out 
at the gold of the sun which was now pouring its radiance 
full on the sea. The beauty of the scene moved me not 
at all — ^nothing mattered. All that my consciousness could 
take in was that, according to what I had heard, Raf el was 
dead,— drowned in the sea over which his fairy vessel the 
* Dream ' had sailed so lightly — and that all he had said 
of our knowledge of each other in former lives, and of the 
love which had drawn us together, was mere * fooling ' ! 
I leaned out of the window, and my eyes rested on the 
little crimson rose that still blossomed against the wall in 
fragrant confidence. And then I spoke aloud, hardly con- 
scious of my own words — 

** It is wicked " — I said — " wicked of God to allow us 
to imagine beautiful things that have no existence! It is 
cruel to ordain us to love, if love must end in disappoint- 
ment and treachery! It would be better to teach us at 
once that life is intended to be hard and plain and without 
tenderness or truth, than to lead our souls into a fool's 
paradise I " 



SHADOW AND SOUND 365 

Then — all at once — I remembered the dark Phantom of 
the night and its transformation into the Vision of an 
Angel. I had struggled against the terror of its first spectral 
appearance, and had conquered my fears, — ^why was I now 
shaken from my self-control? What was the cause? 
Voices, merely ! Voices behind a wall that spoke of death 
and falsehood, — ^voices belonging to persons I did not know 
and could not see — ^like the voices of the world which de- 
light in uttering scandals and cruelties and which never 
praise so much as they condemn. Voices merely ! Ah ! — 
but they spoke of the death of him whom I loved! — ^must 
I not listen? They spoke of his treachery and * fooling.' 
Should I not hear ? 

And yet — who were those persons, if persons they were, 
who talked of him with such easy callousness? I had met 
no one in the House of Aselzion save Aselzion himself and 
his servant or secretary Honorius, — who then could there 
be except those two to know the reasons that had brought 
me hither? I began to question myself and to doubt the 
accuracy of the terrible news I had inadvertently over- 
heard. If any evil had chanced to Rafel Santoris, would 
Aselzion have told me he was * safe and well ' when he 
had conjured up for my comfort the picture of the * Dream ' 
yacht on the moonlit sea only a few hours ago ? Yet with 
my bravest effort I could not recover myself sufficiently 
to be quite at peace, — ^and in my restless condition of mind 
I looked towards the turret door opening to the stairway 
which led to the little garden below and the seashore — ^but 
it was fast shut, and I remembered Aselzion had locked it. 
But, to my complete surprise, another door stood open, — 
a door that had seemed part of the wall — ^and a small room^ 
was disclosed beyond it, — a kind of little shrine, htmg withl 
pale purple silk, and looking as though it were intended t«v 



366 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

hold, something infinitely precious. I entered it hesitatingly, 
not sure whether I was doing right or wrong, and yet im- 
I>elled by something more than curiosity. As I stepped 
across the threshold I heard the voices behind the wall 
again — ^they sounded louder and more threatening, and I 
paused, — ^half afraid, yet longing to know all that might 
yet be said, though such knowledge might mean nothinr 
but misery and despair to me. 

" All women are fools ! " — ^and this trite observation was 
made by someone speaking in harsh and bitter accents — ^* It 
is not love that really moves them so much as the self- 
satisfaction of being loved. No woman could be faithful 
for long to a dead man — she would lack the expected re- 
sponse to her superabundant sentimentality, and she would 
tire of waiting to meet him in Paradise — if she believed in 
such a possibility, which in nine cases out of ten she would 
not." 

" With Aselzion there are no dead men " — said another 
of the unseen speakers — " They have merely passed into 
another living state. And according to his theories, lovers 
cannot be separated, even by what is called death, for 
long." 

" Poor comfort ! " and with the words I heard a laugh 
©f scornful mockery — " The women who have loved Rafe 
Santoris would hardly thank you for it ! " 
, I shuddered a little, as with cold. * The women v/ho 
have loved Rafel Santoris! ' This phrase seemed to darken 
the very recollection of the handsome face and form of the 
man I had, almost unconsciously to myself, begun to ideal- 
ise — something coarse and common suggested itself in as- 
sociation with him, and my heart sank within me, deprived 
of hope. Voices, merely ! — yet how they tortured me ! If 
I could only know the truth, I thought ! — if Aselzion would 



SHADOW AND SOUND 367 

only come and tell me the worst at once I in a kind of 
stupor of unnameable grief I stood in the little purple-hung 
shrine so suddenly opened to me, and began to dreamily 
consider the unkindness and harshness of those voices! — - 
Ah ! so like the voices of the world ! Voices that sneer and 
mock and condemn ! — voices that would rather utter a false- 
hood than any word that should help and comfort — ^voices 
that take a cruel pleasure in saying just the one thing that 
will wound and crush an aspiring spirit I — voices that cannot 
tune themselves to speak of love without grudging bitter- 
ness and scorn — ^voices — ah God! — if only all the harsh 
and calumniating voices of humanity were stilled, what a 
heaven this earth would be! 

And yet — ^why should we listen to them? What have 
they really to do with us? Is the Soul to be moved from 
its centre by casual opinion? What is it to me that this 
person or that person approves or disapproves my actions ? 
Why should I be disturbed by rumoiu-s, or frightened by 
ill report? 

Absorbed in these thoughts, I hardly realised the almost 
religious peace of my surroundings, — and it was only when 
the voices ceased for a few minutes that I saw what was 
contained in this small room I had half unwittingly en- 
tered, — an exquisite little table, apparently made of crystal 
which shone like a diamond — ^and on the table, an open 
book. A chair was placed in position for the evident pur- 
pose of reading — and as I approached, at first indifferently 
and then with awakening interest, I saw that the open book 
showed an inscription on its fly-leaf — ^**To a faithful 
student. — From Aselzion." Was / 'a faithful student'? 
I asked myself the question doubtingly. There was no j 
* faithfulness ' in fears and depressions ! Here was It f 
sLaken in part from self-control from the mere hs^^t^s^"^ 



'368 THE LIFE EVERJASTING 

of voices behind a wall I I, who had said that ^* God onkius 
nothing that is not for good *— was suddenly ready to be- 
lieve that He had ordained the death of the lover to whom 
His laws had guided me ! I, to whom had been vouchsafed 
the beatific vision of an Angel — an Angel who had said — 
"God thinks no evil of thee— desires no wrong towards 
thee — has no punishment in store for thee — give thyself 
into His Hand, and be at peace!" was already flinching 
and turning away from the Faith that should keep me 
strong! A sense of shame stole over me — and almost 
timidly I approached the table on which the open book lay, 
and sat down in the chair so invitingly placed. I had 
scarcely done this when the voices began again, in rather 
louder and angrier tones. 

" She imagines she can learn the secret of life ! A 
woman, too! The brazen arrogance of such an at- 
tempt ! " 

" No, no ! It is not the secret of life she wants to discover 
so much as the secret of perpetual youth! That, to a 
woman, is everything! To be always young and alv/ays 
fair ! What feminine thing would not * adventure for such 
merchandise ' ! " 

A loud laugh followed this observation. 

" Santoris was well on his way to the goal " — ^said a 
voice that was suave and calm of accent — " Certainly no 
one would have guessed his real age." 

" He had all the ardour and passion of youth " — said 
another voice — " The fire of love ran as warmly in his veins 
as though he were a Romeo! None of the coldness and 
reluctance of age aflFected him where the fair dex was 
concerned ! " 

More laughter followed. I sat rigidly in the chair by 
iht crystdl table* listenmg to every word* 



SHADOW AND SOUND 369 

•*The womai» here is the latest victim of his hypnotic 
suggestions, isn't she ? " 

" Yes. One may say his last victim — ^he will victimise 
no riore." 

** I suppose if Aselzion told her the truth she would go 
at once?" 

"Of course! Why should she remain? It is only a 
dream of love that has brought her here — when she knows 
the dream is over, there will be nothing left." 

True! Nothing left! The whole world a desert, and 
Heaven itself without hope! I pressed my hands to my 
eyes to try and cool their ouming ache — ^was it possible 
that what these voices said could be true? They had 
ceased speaking, and there was a blessed silence. As a 
kind of desperate resource, I took out the letter Rafd 
Santoris had written to me, and read its every word with 
an eager passion of yearning — especially the one passage 
that ran thus — " We — ^you and I — ^who know that Life, be- 
ing all Life, cannot die,— ought to be wiser in our present 
space of time than to doubt each other's infinite capability 
for love and the perfect world of beauty which love creates." 

' Wiser than to doubt ' ! Ah, I was not wise enough I 
i was full of doubts and imagined evils — ^and why? Be- 
cause of voices behind a wall ! Surely a foolish cause for 
sorrow! I tried to extricate my mind from the darkness 
of despondency into which it had fallen, and to distract 
my attention from my own unhappy thoughts I glanced at 
the book which lay open before me. As I looked, its title, 
printed in letters of gold, flashed on my eyes like a gleam 
of the sun — ' The Secret of Life.' A sudden keen ex- 
pectancy stirred in me — I folded Rafel's letter and slipped j 
it back into its resting-place near my heart — ^then I drew § 
my chair close up to the table, and bending over tha hcy^^L \ 



Z70 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

began to read. All was now perfectly still around me-^ 
the voices had ceased. Gradually I became aware that what 
I was reading was intended for my instruction, and that 
the book itself was a gift to me from Aselzion if I proved 
a ' faithful student.' A thrill of hope and gratitude began 
to relieve the cold weight upon my heart, — and I suddenly 
resolved that I would not listen to any more voices, even 
if they spoke again. 

" Raf el Santoris is not dead ! " — I said aloud and reso- 
lutely — ^" He could not so sever himself from me now ! He 
is not treacherous — ^he is true ! He is not * fooling ' me— 
he is relying upon me to believe in him. And I zvill be- 
lieve in him! — ^my love and faith shall not be shaken by 
mere rumour ! I will give him no cause to think me weak 
or cowardly, — I will trust him to the end ! *' 

And with these words spoken to the air, I went on read- 
ing quietly in a stillness made suddenly fragrant with the 
scent of linseen flowers. 



't 



XVII 

THE MAGIC BOOK 

It is not possible here to transcribe more than a few ex- 
tracts from the book on which my attention now became 
completely riveted. The passages selected are chosen simply 
because they may by chance be useful to those few — ^those 
very few — who desire to make of their lives something 
more than a mere buy and sell business, and also because 
they can hardly be called difficult to understand. When 
Paracelsus wrote ' The Secret of Long Life ' he did so in 
a fashion sufficiently abstruse and complex to scare away 
all but the most diligent and persevering of students, this 
no doubt being his intention. But the instructions given 
in the volume placed, as I imagined, for my perusal, were 
simple and in accordance with many of the facts discovered 
by modem science, and as I read on and on I began to see 
light through the darkness, and to gain a perception of the 
way in which I might become an adept in what the world 
deems * miracle,* but which after all is nothing but the 
scientific application of common sense. To begin with, I 
will quote the following, — ^headed 

Life and its Adjustment 

" Life is the Divine impetus of Love. The Force behind 
the Universe is Love — and from that Love is bred Desire 
and Creation. Even as the human lover passionately cravea 

371 



372 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

possession of hi3 beloved, so that from their mutual tender- 
ness the children of Love are bom, the Divine Spirit, im- 
mortally creative and desirous of perfect beauty, possesses 
space with eternal energy, producing millions of solar sys- 
tems, each one of which has a different organisation and 
a separate individuality. Man, the creature of our small 
planet, the Earth, is but a single result of the resistless 
output of Divine fecundity, — ^nevertheless Man is the ' im- 
age of God ' in that he is endowed with reason, will and 
intelligence beyond that of the purely animal creation, and 
that he is given an immortal Soul, formed for love and 
for the eternal things which love creates. He can himself 
be Divine, in the Desire and Perpetuation of Life. G)n- 
sidered in a strictly material sense, he is simply an embodied 
force composed of atoms held together in a certain organ- 
ised form, — ^but within this organised form is contained a 
spiritual Being capable of guiding and controlling its 
earthly vehicle and adjusting it to surroundings and circum- 
stances. In his dual nature Man has the power of holding 
his life-cells under his own command — ^he can renew them 
or destroy them at pleasure. He generally elects to destroy 
them through selfishness and obstinacy, — ^the two chief dis- 
integrating elements of his mortal composition. Hence the 
result which he calls ' death * — ^but which is merely the nec- 
essary transposition of his existence (which he has himself 
brought about) into a more useful phase. If he were to 
learn once for all that he can prolong his life on this earth 
in youth and health for an indefinite period, in which days 
and years are not counted, but only psychic * episodes ' or 
seasons, he could pass from one joy to another, from one 
triumph to another, as easily as breathing the air. It is 
judged good for a man's body that he should stand upright, 
and that he should move Vv\s \\trJos. ^VAv ^rajo^ and ease, 



THE MAGIC BOOK 373 

performing physical exercises for the improvement and 
strengthening of his muscles, — and he is not considered a 
fool for any feats of physical valour or ability 'which he 
may accomplish. Why then should he not train his Soul to 
stand as upright as his body, so that it may take full pos- 
session of all the powers which natural and spiritual energy 
can provide ? 

" Reader and Student ! — ^you for whom these words are 
written, learn and remember that the secret strength and 
renewal of life is Adjustment — ^the adjustment of the atoms 
whereof the body is composed to the commands of the Soul. 
Be the god of your own universe ! Control your own solar 
system that it may warm and revivify you with an ever 
recurring spring! Make Love the summer of your life, and 
let it create within you the passion of noble desire, the 
fervour of joy, the fire of idealism and faith ! Know your-^ 
self as part of the Divine Spirit of all things, and be divine 
in your own creative existence. The whole Universe is 
open to the searchings of your Soul if Love be the torch 
to light your way ! " 

Having read thus far, I paused — ^the little room in which 
I sat appeared darker — or was it my fancy ? I listened for 
the voices which had so confused and worried me — ^but 
/there was no sound. I turned the pages of the book before 
iTife, and found the following : 

The Action of Thought 

" Thought is an actual motive Force, more powerful than 
any other motive force in the world. It is not the mere 
pulsation in a particular set of brain cells, destined to pass J 
away into nothingness when the pulsation ba& c^^sbs^yi-. " 



374 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

Thought is the voice of the Soul. Just as the human voice 
is transmitted through distance on the telephone wires, so is 
the Soul's voice carried through the radiant fibres connected 
with the nerves to the brain. The brain receives it, but 
cannot keep it — for it again is transmitted by its own elec- 
tric power to other brains, — ^and you can no more keep a 
thought to yourself than you can hold a monopoly in the 
sunshine. Everywhere in all worlds, throughout the whoh 
cosmos, Souls are speaking through the material mediun 
of the brain, — souls that may not inhabit this world at all, 
but that may be as far away from us as the last star visible 
to the strongest telescope. The harmonies that suggest 
themselves to the musician here to-day may have fallen 
from Sirius or Jupiter, striking on his earthly brain with 
a spiritual sweetness from worlds unknown, — ^the poet 
writes what he scarcely realises, obeying the inspiration of 
his dreams, — and we are all, at our best, but mediums for 
conveying thought, first receiving it from other spheres to 
ourselves, and then transmitting it from ourselves to others. 
Shakespeare, the chief poet and prophet of the world, has 
written : ' There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes 
it so,' — ^thus giving out a profound truth, — one of the most 
profound truths of the Psychic Creed. For what we think, 
we are; and our thoughts resolve themselves into our 
actions. 

" In the renewal of life and the preservation of youth. 
Thought is the chief factor. If we think we are old — 
we age rapidly. If, on the contrary, we think we are 
young, we preserve our vitality indefinitely. The action 
pi thought influences the living particles of which our 
bodies are composed, so that we positively age them or re- 
juvenate them by the attitude we assume. The thinking 
attitude of the human Som\ ^Vvo>3ld b^ otve of gratitudor 



THE MAGIC BOOK 375 

love and joy. There is no room in Spiritual Nature 
for fear, depression, sickness or death. God intends His 
creation to be happy, and by bringing the Soul and Body 
both into tune with happiness we obey His laws and fulfil 
His desire. Therefore, to live long, encourage thoughts of 
happiness! Avoid all persons who talk of disease, misery 
and decay — for these things are the crimes of man, and are 
offences against God's primal design of beauty. Drink in 
deep draughts of sunshine and fresh air, — inhale the per- 
fume of flowers and trees, — ^keep far away from cities and 
from crowds — seek no wealth that is not earned by hand 
or brain — ^and above all things remember that the Children 
of Light may walk in the Light without fear of darkness ! '' 

Something in this latter sentence made me stop, and look 
again around me — ^and again I felt sure that the room was 
growing darker, and not only darker but smaller. The 
purple silk hangings which draped the walls were almost 
within my touch, and I knew they had not been so close to 
me when I first sat down to read. A nervous tremor ran 
through me, but I resolved I would not be the dupe of my 
own fancy, and I set myself once more resolutely to the 
study of the volume before me. The next paragraph which 
attracted me was headed 

On the Command of Life's Forces 

and began thus : 

" To live long you must have perfect control of the forces 
that engender life. The atoms of which your body is com- 
posed are in perpetual movement, — ^your Spiritual Self must 
guide them in the way they should go, otherwise they re- 
semble an army without organisation or equi^meut^ ^^.^vV^ 



376 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

put to rout by a first assault. If you have them under your 
spiritual orders you are practically immune from all disease. 
Disease can never enter your system save through some 
unguarded comer. You may meet with accident — ^through 
the fault of others or through your own wilfulness, — ^if 
through your own wilfulness, you have only yourself to 
blame — if through the fault of others, you may know that 
it was a destined and pre-ordained removal of yourself 
from a sphere for which you are judged to be unfitted. 
Barring such accident, your life need know no end, even 
on this earth. Your Spirit, called the Soul, is a Creature 
of Light — ^and it can supply revivifying rays to every atom 
and cell in your body without stint or cessation. It is an 
exhaustless supply of ' radium * from which the forces of 
your life may draw perpetual sustenance. Man uses every 
exterior means of self-preservation, but forgets the interior 
power he possesses, which was bestowed upon him that he 
might ' replenish the earth and subdue it.' To * replenish ' 
the earth is to give out love ungrudgingly to all Nature, — 
to ' subdue * the earth, is first, to master the atoms of which 
the human organisation is composed, and hold them com- 
pletely under control, so that by means of this mastery, ali 
other atomic movements and forces upon this planet and 
its encircling atmosphere may be equally controlled. Much 
is talked of the ' light rays ' which pierce solid matter as 
though it were nothing but clear air — ^yet this discovery is 
but the beginning of wonders. There are rays which divine 
metals, even as the hazel wand divines the presence of water, 
— ^and the treasures of the earth, the gold, the silver, the 
jewels and precious things that are hidden beneath its sur- 
face and in the depth of the sea can be seen in their darkest 
recesses by the penetrating flash of a Ray as yet tmknown 
to any but adepts in the Psychic Creed, No true adept is 



THE MAGIC BOOK 377 

ever poor, — poverty cannot exist where perfect control of 
the life forces is maintained. Gladness, peace and plenty 
must naturally attend the Soul that is in tune with Nature 
and life is always perpetuated from the joy of life. 

" Stand, therefore, O patient Student, erect and firm ! — 
let the radiating force of the Soul possess every nerve and 
blood-vessel of the body, and learn to command all things 
pertaining to good with that strength which compels obedi- 
ence! Not idly did the Supreme Master speak when He 
told His disciples that if their faith were but as a grain 
of mustard seed they could command a mountain to be cast 
into the sea, and it would obey. Remember that the Spirit 
within your bodily house of clay is Divine, and of God !-^ 
and that with God all things are possible ! " 

I raised my head from its bent position over the book, 
and drew a long breath — ^something oppressed me with a 
sense of suffocation, and looking up I saw that I was being 
steadily closed in, as by a contracting cage. The little room, 
draped with its soft purple hangings, was now too small 
for me to move about, I was pinned to my chair, and the 
ceiling was apparently descending upon me. With a shock 
of horrified memory I recalled the old torture of the * living 
tomb* practised by the Spanish Inquisition, when the 
wretched victim was compelled to watch the walls of his 
prison slowly narrowing round him inch by inch till he was 
crushed to death. How could I be sure that no such cruel- 
ties were used among the mysterious members of a mys- 
terious Brotherhood, whose avowed object of study was the 
searching out of the secret of life? I made an effort to 
rise, and found I could stand upright — ^and there straight 
opposite to me was the entrance to my own room from 
which I had wandered into this small imier cb&tc&^x. "^ 



378 THE UFE EVERLASTING 

seemed easy enough to get there, and yet — ^I found myself 
hindered by an invisible barrier. I stood, with my heart 
beating nervously — ^wondering what was my threatening 
danger. Almost involuntarily my eyes still perused the 
printed page of the book before me, and I read the follow- 
ing sentences in a kind of waking dream : — 

" To the Soul that will not study the needs of its im- 
mortal nature, life itself becomes a narrow cell. All God's 
creation waits upon it to supply what it shall demand, — 
yet it starves in the midst of plenty. Fear, suspicion, dis- 
trust, anger, envy and callousness paralyse its being and 
destroy its action, — ^love, courage, patience, sweetness, gen- 
erosity and sympathy are actual life-forces to it and to the 
body it inhabits. All the influences of the social world 
work against it — all the influences of the natural world 
work Tvith it. There is nothing of pure Nature that will 
not obey its behest, and this should be enough for its happy 
existence. Sorrow and despair result from the misguidance 
of the Will — ^there is no other cause in earth or heaven for 
any pain or trouble." 

Misguidance of the Will! I spoke the words aloud- 
then went on reading — 

" What is Heaven ? A state of perfect happiness. What 
is Happiness? The immortal union of two Souls in one, 
creatures of God's eternal light, partaking each other's 
thoughts, bestowing upon each other the renewal of joy, 
and creating loveliness in form and action by their mutual 
sympathy and tenderness. Age cannot touch them — death 
has no meaning for them, — ^life is their air and space and 
movement — ^life palpitates through them and warms them 
with colour and glory as the sunshine warms and reddens 
the petals of the rose — ^they grow beyond mortality and 
are immune from all disaster — they are a world in thenh 



THE MAGIC BOOK 379 

selves, involuntarily creating other worlds as they pass from 
one phase to another of production and fruition. For there 
is no good work accomplished without love, — ^no great tri- 
umph' achieved without love, — ^no fame, no victory gained 
without love ! The lovers of God are the beloved of God I 
— ^their passion is divine, knowing no weariness, no satiety, 
no end ! For God is the Supreme Lover and there is nothing 
higher than Love ! " 

Here, on a sudden impulse, I took up the book, closed 
it and held it clasped in my two hands. As I did this, a 
great darkness overwhelmed me — a sound like thunder 
crashed on my ears, and I felt the whole room reeling into 
chaos. The floor sank, and I sank with it, down to a great 
depth so swiftly that I had no time to think what had 
happened till the sensation of falling stopped abruptly, and 
I found myself in a narrow green lane, completely shadowed 
by the wide boughs of over-arching trees. Hardly could 
I realise my surroundings when I saw Rafel ! — Raf el San- 
toris himself walking towards me — ^but — ^not alone! The 
eager impulse to run to him was checked — I stood quiet, 
and cold to the heart. A woman was with him — a woman 
young and very beautiful — his arm was round her, and his 
eyes looked with unwearied tenderness at her face. I heard 
his voice — caressing, and infinitely gentle. 

" Beloved ! " he said — '^ I call you by this name as I have 
always called you through many cycles of time ! Is it not 
strange that even the eager spirit, craving for its pre* 
ordained mate, is subject to error? I thought I had found 
her whom I should love a little while before I met you— 
but this was a momentary blindness! — you are the one 
I have sought for many centuries! — you are the one and 
only beloved! — ^promise never to leave me again!" She 
answered — ^and I heard her murmur, soft as a d^b.— " 1 



38o THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

promise ! " Still walking together like lovers, they came 
on — ^I knew they must pass me, — and I stood in their way 
that Rafel Santoris at least might see me — might know 
that I had adventured into the House of Aselzion for his 
sake, and that so far I had not failed! If he were false, 
then surely the failure would be his! With a sickening 
heart I watched him approach, — ^his blue eyes rested on 
me carelessly with a cold smile — ^his fair companion glanced 
at me as at a stranger — and they moved on and passed 
out of sight. I could not have spoken, had I tried — ^I was 
stricken dumb and feeble. This was the end, then ? I had 
made my journey to no purpose, — ^he had already found 
another ' subject ' for his influence ! 

Stunned and bewildered with the confusion of thought 
in my brain, I tried to walk a few paces, and found the 
ground soft as velvet, while a cool breeze blowing through 
the trees refreshed my aching forehead and eyes. I still 
held the book — ' The Secret of Life ' — ^and in a dull, aimless 
way thought how useless it was I What does Life matter 
if Love be untrue ? The sun was shining somewhere above 
me, for I saw glinting reflections of it through the close 
boughs, and there were birds singing. But both beauty of 
sight and beauty of sound were lost to me — I had no real 
consciousness left save that the lover who professed to love 
me with an eternal love loved me no more ! So the world 
was desolate, and heaven itself a blank! — death, and death 
alone seemed dear and desirable ! I walked slowly and with 
difficulty — ^my limbs were languid, and I had lost all cour- 
age. If I could have found my way to Aselzion I would 
have told him — " This is enough ! No more do I need the 
secret of youth or life, since love has left me." 

Presently I began to think more coherently. A little 
ivhiJe back I had heard vo\c^^ behind a wall saying that 



THE MAGIC BOOK 381 

Raf el Santoris was dead,— <irowned in his own yacht ' off 
Armadale, in Skye.' If that was true how came he here? 
I questioned myself in vain, — till presently I gathered up 
sufficient force to remember that love — real love — knows no 
change. Did t believe in my lover's love, or did I doubt 
it? That was a point for my own consideration I But, 
had I not the testimony of my own eyes? Was I not myselt 
the witness of his altered mind? 

Here, seeing a rustic seat under one of the shadiest treec, 
I sat down, and my mind gradually steadied itself. Why, 
I inwardly asked, had I been so suddenly and forcibly 
brought into this place for no apparent reason save to look 
upon Raf el Santoris in the company of another woman 
whom it seemed that he now preferred to me ? Ought that 
to make any difference in my love for him? " In love, if 
love be love, if love be ours. Faith and unfaith can ne'er 
be equal powers, Unfaith in aught is want of faith in all." 
If the happiness of the one I loved was obtained through 
other means than mine, ought I to grudge it ? And yet I — 
my heart was full of a sick heaviness, — it seemed to me 
that I had lately been the possessor of an inestimable joy 
which had been ruthlessly snatched from me. Still medi- 
tating in solitary sadness. I sat in the soft gloom wondering 
at the strange chance that had brought me into such a 
place, and, curiously enough, never thinking that the whole 
adventure might be the result of a pre-ordained design. 

Presently, hearing slow footsteps approaching, I looked 
up and saw an aged man walking towards me, accom- 
panied by a woman of gentle and matronly appearance, 
who supported him on her arm. The looks of both these 
personages were kindly, and inspired confidence at a glance, .i 
—and I watched them coming with a kind of hope that per- 1 
haps they might explain my present dilemma. I ^^.^ ^ax« 



382 THE UFE EVERLASTING 

ticularly attracted by the venerable and benevolent aspect 
of the man — and as he drew near, seeing that he evidently 
intended to speak to me, I rose from my seat, and made 
a step or two forward to meet him. He inclined his head 
courteously, and smiled upon me with a grave and com- 
passionate air. 

" I am very glad," — he said, in a friendly tone — " that 
we have not come too late. We feared— did we not?" 
here he looked to his companion for confirmation of his 
words — '^ that you might have been hopelessly ensnared and 
victimised before we could come to the rescue." 

'* Alas, yes!" said the woman, in accents of deep pity; 
" And that would have been terrible indeed ! " 

I stared at them both, utterly bewildered. They spoke 
of rescue, — ^rescue from what ? * Hopelessly ensnared and 
victimised.' What did they mean ? Since I had seen Raf el 
Santoris with another woman he called * beloved ' — ^I had 
felt almost incapable of speech — ^but now I found my voice 
suddenly. 

" I do not understand you " — I said, as clearly and firmly 
as I could — " I am here by my own desire, and I am 
not being ensnared or victimised. Why should I need 
rescue ? " 

The old man shook his head compassionately. 

" Poor child ! " he said — " Are you not a prisoner in the 
House of Aselzion?" 

" With my own consent," — I answered. 

He lifted his hands in a kind of appealing astonishment,' 
and the woman smiled sadly. 

" Not so ! " — she told me — " You are under a very serious 
delusion. You are here by the wicked will of Rafel San- 
toris — a man who would sacrifice any life remorselessly in 
the support of his ovjn tnad \.Vv^ox\e^\ Yo\i are under hi^ 



THE MAGIC BOOK 383 

influence, you poor creature ! — so easily trapped, too ! — ^you 
think you are following your own way and carrying out 
your own wishes, but you are really the slave of Santoris 
and have been so ever since you met him. You are a mere 
instrument on which he can play any tune." And she 
turned to the old man beside her with an appealing gesture 
—"Is it not so?" 

He bent his head in the affirmative. 

For a moment my brain was in a whirl. Could it be 
possible that what they said was true? Their looks were 
sincere, — ^they could have no object but kindness in warn- 
ing me of intended mischief. I tried to conceal the tortur- 
ing anxiety that possessed me, and asked quietly — 

" If you have good reason to think all this, what would 
you advise me to do ? If I am in danger how shall I escape 
from it?" 

The woman looked curiously at me, and her eyes glit- 
tered with sudden interest. Her venerable companion 
replied to my question — 

" Escape is quite easy here and now. You have only to 
follow us and we will take you out of this wood and escort 
you to a place of safety. Then you can return to your 
own home and forget " 

^ Forget what ? " I interrupted him. 

" All this foolishness " — ^he answered, with a gentle seri- 
ousness — " This idea of eternal life and love which the art- 
ful conjurer Rafel Santoris has instilled into your too sensi- 
tive and credulous imagination — ^these fantastic beliefs in 
the immortality and individuality of the soul, — and you will 
accept old age and death with the sane resignation of ordi- 
nary mortals. Such love as he professes to believe in does 
not exist, — such life can never be, — and the secret of his 
youth " 



\ 



384 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

" Ah ! *' I exclaimed eagerly—" Tell me of that ! And 
of Aselzion's splendid prime when he should be old and 
feeble ? Tell me of that also ! " 

For the first time during this interview, my two com- 
panions looked confused. I saw this, and I gained confi- 
dence from their evident embarrassment. 

" Why," I pursued — " should you come to me with warn- 
ings against those whom God or Destiny has brought into 
my life? You may perhaps say that you yourselves have 
been sent by God — ^but does Deity contradict Itself? I am 
not conscious of having suffered any evil through Rafel 
Santoris or through Aselzion — I am pained and perplexed 
and tortured by what I hear and see — but my hearing and 
sight are capable of being deceived — why should I think 
of evil things which are not proved? " 

The woman surveyed me with sudden scorn. 

" So you will stay here, the dupe of your own senti- 
ments and dreams ! " — she said, contemptuously — '' You, a 
woman, will remain among a community of men who are 
known impostors, and sacrifice your name and reputation to 
a mere chimera ! *' 

Her look and manner had completely changed, and I was 
at once on my guard. 

" My name and reputation are my own to protect," — 
I answered, coldly — " Whatever I do I shall be ready to 
answer for to anyone having the right to ask." 

The old man now advanced and laid his hand on my 
arm. His eyes sparkled angrily. 

You must be saved from yourself " — he said, sharply, 

You must come with us whether you will or no! We 
have seen too many victims of Aselzion's art already — ^we 
are resolved to save you from the peril which threatens 
you." 



it 



THE MAGIC BOOK 385 

And he made an effort to draw me closer to him — but 
tny spirit was up and I held back with all my force. 

" No, I will not go with you ! " I exclaimed, hotly — " God 
alone shall remove me from harm if any harm is really 
meant towards me. I do not believe one word you have 
said against Raf el Santoris or against Aselzion — I love the 
one, and I trust the other! — ^let me go my own way in 
peace ! " 

Hardly had I spoken these words when both the old man 
and woman threw themselves upon me and seizing me by 
force, endeavoured to drag me away with them. I resisted 
with all my strength, still holding tightly the book of the 
* Secret of Life ' in one hand. But their imited efforts were 
beginning to overpower me, and feeling myself growing 
weaker and weaker I cried aloud in desperation : 

"Raf ell Rafel!" 

In an instant I stood free. My captors loosed their hold 
of me. and I rushed away, not knowing whither— only run- 
ning, running, running, afraid of pursuit — till I suddenly 
found myself alone on the borders of a dark stretch of 
water spreading away in cold blackness to an unseen 
horizoa 



\ 



XVIII 
DREAMS WITHIN A DREAM 

I STOPPED abruptly, brought perforce to a standstill. 
There was nothing but the black water heaving in front of 
me with a slow and dizzying motion and faintly illumined 
by a dim, pearly light like that of a waning moon. I looked 
behind me, fearing my persecutors were following, and saw 
that a thick mist filled the air and space to the obliteration 
of everything that might otherwise have been visible. I 
had thought it was day, and that the sun was shining, but 
now it appeared to be night. Utterly fatigued in body and 
mind, I sank down wearily on the ground, close to the 
edge of the strange dark flood which I could scarcely sec. 
The quiet and deep obscurity had a lulling effect on my 
senses — and I thought languidly how good it would be if 
I might be allowed to rest where I was for an indefinite 
time. 

" I can understand *' — 1 said to myself — '^ why many 
people long for death and pray for it as a great blessing! 
They have lost love — and without love, life is valueless. 
To live on and on through cycles of time in worlds that 
are empty of all sweetness, — companionless and deprived 
of hope and comfort — ^this would be hell ! — ^not heaven ! " 

*' Hell — not heaven ! " said a voice near me. 

I started and looked up— a shadowy figure stood beside 
me— that of a woman in dark trailing garments, whose 



DREAMS WITHIN A DREAM 387 

face shone with a pale beauty in the dim light surrounding 
us both. 

" So you have found your way here at last ! " she said, 
gently — " Here, where all things end, and nothing 
begins ! " 

I rose to my feet and confronted her. 

" Where all things end ! " I repeated — *' Surely where 
life exists there is no end ? " 

She gave mie a fleeting smile. 

" Life is a dream," — she said — '^ And the things of life 
are dreams within the dream ! There are no realities. You 
imagine truths which are deceptions." 

I looked at her in wonder and bewilderment. She was 
beautiful — and the calm sadness of her eyes expressed com- 
passion and tenderness. 

" Then — is Creation a lie ? " I asked. 

She made no immediate answer, but pointed with one 
hand towards the dark water. I looked, and uttered a 
cry of ecstasy — there, shining in the heaving blackness like 
a vision from fairyland, was the ' Dream ' — ^glittering f roiw 
stem to stem with light that sparkled like millions of dia- 
monds ! 

" Your Dream of Love ! " said the woman beside me — 
" Behold it for the last time ! " 

With straining eyes and beating heart I watched — ^and 
saw the shining vessel begin to sink slowly into the deep 
watery blackness — down, down still lower, till only her 
masts were visible — ^then something defiant and forceful 
sprang up within me, — I would master this torture, I 
thought — I would not yield to the agony that threatened to 
drive me to utter despair. 

" This is a phantom of sorrow ! " — I said — *^ It has no 
meaning! The love that is in taj Vitaxt \§ xwj cf«\N\— ^-^^^ 



388 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

my life, my soul, my imnost being! — ^it is eternal as God 
Himself, and to Him I commend it ! " 

I spoke these words aloud, holding the book of the * Se- 
cret of Life' clasped to my breast — and raised my eyes 
trustfully to the dense darkness which should have been 
the sky. Then I felt the woman's hand on mine. Her touch] 
was warm and gentle. 

" Come ! " she said, softly. 

And I saw a small boat slip out on the gloomy water, 
guided towards me by One whose face was hidden in a 
fold of black. My companion drew me with her and signed 
to me to enter. Something in myself, as well as in her 
looks, impelled me to obey, and as she stepped into the boat 
I followed. We were borne along in silence for what 
seemed to me a long time, till suddenly I began to hear 
strange sounds of wailing, and shuddering cries of appeal, 
and our darkness was lightened by the drifting to and fro 
of pale forms that were luminous and human in shape 
though scarcely of human resemblance. 

" What are these ? " I whispered. 

My companion took my hand and held it. 

" Listen ! " she answered. 

And gradually, out of a clamour of weeping and com- 
plaint, I heard voices which uttered distinct things. 

" I am the Phantom of Wealth " — said one — " For mc 
men and nations have rushed on destruction, — for me they 
have sacrificed happiness and missed the way to God ! For 
me innocence has been betrayed and honour murdered. I 
am but a Shadow, but the world follows me as if I were 
Light — I am but the gold dust of earth, and men take me 
for the glory of Heaven ! " 

" I am the Phantom of Fame " — ^said another — " I come 
.with music and sweet promises* — 1 ^o^\. X^^iort^ Msnr. ^^^ q£ 



DREAMS WITHIN A DREAM 389 

man, seeming to him an Angel! — I speak of triumph and 
power! — ^and for me brave hearts have broken, and bright 
spirits have been doomed to despair ! I am but a Shadow — 
but the world believes me Substance — I am but a breath 
and a colour, but men take me for a fixed Star ! " 

" I am the Phantom of Pride ! " — said a third voice — 
" For me humanity scales the height of ambition — for my 
sake kings and queens occupy uneasy thrones, and surround 
themselves with pomp and panoply — for me men lie and 
cheat and wrong their neighbours — for me the homes that 
should be happy are laid waste — for me false laws arc 
made and evil conquers good. I am but a Shadow — ^and 
the world takes me for the Sun ! — I am but a passing flash 
of light, and men take me for the perfect Day ! " 

Other voices joined in and echoed wildly around me — 
and I rose up in the boat, loosing my hold from the clasp 
of the woman who was with me. 

" You are phantoms all ! " I cried, half unconscious of 
my own words — " I want God's angels ! Where is Love ? " 

The voices ceased — ^the strange flitting figures that wailed 
round me faded away into mist, and disappeared — ^and a 
light, deep and golden and wonderful, began to shine 
through the gloom. My companion spoke. 

" We have been looking at dreams," — ^she said — " You 
ask for the only Real ! " 

I smiled. A sudden inrush of strength and authority 
possessed me. 

" You bade me look my last upon my dream of Love ! " 
I said — " But you knew that was impossible, for Love is 
no dream ! " 

The golden radiance widened into a perfect splendour, 
and our boat now glided over a shining sea. As in a visioa 
I saw the figure that steered and gvixdtA \\.» dcaxNj^ Sx^scx 



390 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

(darkness to brightness — the black fold fell from its face- 
Angel eyes looked at me — ^Angel lips smiled! — and then— 
I found myself suddenly alone on the shore of a little bay, 
blue as a sapphire in the reflection of the blue sky above 
it. The black stretch of water which had seemed so dreary 
and impassable had disappeared, and to my astonishment 
I recognised the very shore near the rock garden which 
was immediately under my turret room. I looked every- 
where for the woman who had been in the boat with me — 
for the boat itself and its guide — ^but there was no trace 
of them. Where and how far I had wandered I could not 
imagine — ^but presently, regaining nerve and courage, I 
began to fancy that perhaps my strange experience had been 
preordained and planned as some test of my faith and forti- 
tude. Had I failed ? Surely not ! For I had riot doubted 
the truth of Gk)d or the power of Love f There was only 
one thing which puzzled me, — the memoiy of those voices 
behind a wall — ^the voices which had spoken of Rafel's 
death and treachery. I could not quite rid myself of the 
anxiety they had awakened in my mind though I tried hard 
not to yield to the temptation of fear and suspicion. I 
knew and felt that after all it is the voices of the world 
which work most harm to love — ^and that neither poverty 
nor sorrow can cut the threads of affection between lovers 
so swiftly as falsehood and calumny. And yet I allowed 
myself to be moved by vague uneasiness on this account, 
and could not entirely regain perfect composure. 

The door of the winding stair leading to my room in 
the turret stood open — ^and I availed myself of this tacit 
permission to return thither. I found everything as I had 
left it, except that when I sought for the mysterious little 
room hung with purple silk, where I had begun to read 
the book called * The Secret oi lAi^' ?L\^ocJv^NN\v\di through 



DREAMS WITHIN X DREAM 391 

all my strange adventure I still had managed to keep with 
me, I could not find it. The walls around me were solid; 
there was no sign of an opening anywhere. 

I sat down by the window to think. There before my 
eyes was the sea, calm, and in the full radiance of a brilliant 
Sim. No mysterious or magic art suggested itself in the 
visible scene of a smiling summer day. Had I been long 
absent from this room, I wondered ? I could not tell. Time 
seemed to be annihilated. And so far as I myself was 
concerned I desired nothing in this world or the next save 
just to know if Rafel Santoris still lived — and — ^yes ! — one 
other assurance — to feel that I still possessed the treasure 
of his love. All the past, present and future hung on this 
possibility, — ^there was nothing more to hope for or to 
attain. For if I had lost Love, then God Himself could 
give me no comfort, since the essential link with Divine 
things was broken. 

Gradually a great and soothing quietude stole over mc 
and the cloud of depression that had hung over my mind 
began to clear. I thought of my recent experience with 
the man and woman who had sought to * rescue ' me, as 
they said, and how when in sheer desperation I had called 
" Rafel I Rafel ! " they had suddenly disappeared and left 
me free. Surely this was a sufficient proof that I was 
not forgotten by him who had professed to love me? — ^and 
that his aid might still be depended upon? Why should 
I doubt him? 

I had placed my book, ' The Secret of Life,* on the 
table when I re-entered my room — ^but now I took it up 
Again, and the pages fell open at the following passage : — 

"When once you possess the inestimable treasure of 
love, remember that every effort will be made to snatch 
it from you. There is nothing the world envies so much 



f 



392 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

as a happy soul I Those who have been your dearest friends 
will turn against you because you have a joy in which they 
do not share, — they will unite with your foes to drag you 
down from your height of Paradise. The powers of the 
coarse and commonplace will be arrayed against you — 
shafts of disdain and ridicule will be hurled at your tender- 
est feelings, — ^venomous lies and cruel calumnies will be cir- 
culated around you, — ^all to try and draw you from the 
circle of light into darkness and chaos. If you would stand 
firm, you must stand within the whirlwind; if you would 
maintain the centre-poise of your Soul, you must preserve 
the balance of movement, — ^the radiant and deathless atoms 
whereof your Body and Spirit are composed must be under 
steady control and complete organisation like a well dis» 
ciplined army, otherwise the disintegrating forces set up by 
the malign influences of others around you will not only 
attack your happiness, but your health, break down your 
strength and murder your peace. Love is the only glory 
of Life, — ^the Heart and Pulse of all things, — a, possession 
denied to earth's greatest conquerors — a talisman which 
opens all the secrets of Nature — ^ Divinity whose power 
is limitless, and whose benediction bestows all beauty, all 
sweetness, all joy! Bear this in mind, and never forget 
how such a gift is grudged to those who have it by those 
who have it not ! " 

Reading thus far, a light began to break in upon me. 
Had not all the weird and inexplicable experience of the 
past hours (or days) tended to shake me from Love and 
destroy my allegiance to the ideal I cherished? And — 
had I yielded to the temptation? Had I failed? I dared 
not estimate either failure or success! 

Leaving my place at the window, I saw that the little 
* Jif t ' or dresser in the wall had come up noiselessly with 



DREAMS WITHIN A DREAM 393 

its usual daintily prepared refection of fruit and bread 
and deliciously cool spring water. I had felt neither hunger 
nor thirst during my strange wanderings in unknown places, 
but now I was quite ready for a meal, and enjoyed it with 
all the zest of an unspoilt appetite. When I had finished, 
I returned to my precious book, and placing it on the table, 
I propped up my head between my two hands and set myself 
resolutely to study. And I write down here the passages 
I read, exactly as I found them, for those who care to 
practise the lessons they teach. 



Free-Will 

" The exercise of the Will is practically limitless. It is 
left unfettered so that we may be free to make our own 
choice of life and evolve our own destiny. It can com- 
mand all things save Love, for Love is of God and God is 
not subject to authority. Love must be bom in the Soul 
and of the Soul. It must be a dual flame, — ^that is to say, 
it must find its coimterpart in another Soul which is its 
ordained mate, before it can fulfil its highest needs. Then, 
like two wings moved by the same soaring impulse, it assists 
the Will and carries it to the highest heaven. Through its 
force life is generated and preserved — without it, life es- 
capes to other phases to find its love again. Nothing is 
perfect, nothing is lasting without the light and fire of 
this dual flame. It cannot be willed either to kindle or to 
bum; it must be bom of itself and in itself, and shed its 
glory on the souls of its own choice. All else is subject 
to order and command. Love alone is free." 



394 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

Power 

*' Power over all things and all men is obtained by of< 
ganisation — ^that is to say, * setting one's house in order.* 
The * house ' implied is the body in which the Soul has tern- 
Dorary dwelling ; every comer of it must be * in order/— 
every atom working healthfully in its place without any 
suggestion of confusion. Then, whatever is desired shall 
be attained. Nothing in the Universe can resist the force 
of a steadfastly fixed resolve; what the Spirit truly seeks 
must, by eternal law, be given to it, and what the body 
needs for the fulfilment of the Spirit's commands will 
be bestowed. From the sunlight and the air and the hidden 
things of space strength shall be daily and hourly renewed; 
everything in Nature shall aid in bringing to the resolved 
Soul that which it demands. There is nothing within the 
circle of Creation that can resist its influence. Success, 
wealth, triumph upon triumph come to every human being 
who daily ' sets his house in order ' — ^whom nothing can 
move from his fixed intent, — whom no malice can shake, no 
derision drive from his determined goal, — ^whom no tempta- 
tion can drag from his appointed course, and who is proof 
against spite and calumny. For men's minds are for the 
most part like the shifting sands of the sea, and he alone 
rules who evolves Order from Chaos." 

Eternal Life 

" Life is eternal because it cannot die. Everything that 
lives must live for ever. Everything that lives has always 
lived. What is called death, is by law impossible. Life 
is perpetually changing into various forms, — ^and every 
change it makes we call ' death ' because to us it seems a 



DREAMS WITHIN A DREAM 395 

cessation of life, whereas it is simply renewed activity. 
Every soul imprisoned to-day in himian form has lived in 
human form before, — the very rose that flowers on its 
stem has flowered in this world before. Each individual 
Spirit preserves its individuality and, to a certain extent, 
its memory. It is permitted to remember a few out of 
the million incidents and episodes with which its psychic 
brain is stored, but only a few during its period of evolve- 
ment. When it reaches the utmost height of spiritual ca- 
pacity, and is strong enough to know and see and under- 
stand, then it will remember all from the beginning. Noth- 
ing can ever be forgotten, inasmuch as forgetf ulness implies 
waste, and there is no waste in the scheme of the Universe. 
Every thought is kept for use,— every word, every sigh and 
tear is recorded. Life itself, in our limited view of it, cam 
be continued indefinitely on this earth, if we use the means 
given to us to preserve and renew it. It was easy to pre- 
serve and prolong it in the early days of the world's prime, 
for our planet was then nearer to the sun. In the present 
day it is returning to a position in the heavens which en- 
courages and sustains life — and men live longer without 
knowing why, never thinking that it is the result of the 
immediate situation of the planet with regard to the sun. 
The Earth is not where it was in the days of Christ ; it has 
been rushing through space these two thousand years, and 
yet mankind forgets that its place in the heavens is different 
from that which it formerly occupied, and that with this 
difference the laws of climate, custom and living are 
changed. It is not Man who alters his surroundings — ^it 
is Nature, whose order cannot be disobeyed. Man thinks 
that the growth of science and what he calls his * progress ' i 
is the result of his own cleverness ?lone ; on the contrary, f 
it is the result of a change in his atKvo^^bRxVL ^SJc^x ^*f«ssa^. 



396 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

not only helps scientific explanation and discovery, but 
which tends to give him greater power over the elements, 
as well as to prolong his life and intellectual capability. 
There is no such thing as * standing still ' in the Universe. 
Every atom, every organism is doing something, or going 
somewhere, and there is no stop. Rest itself is merely a 
.'form of Progress towards Beauty and Perfection, and 
there is no flaw anywhere in the majestic splendour of 
God's scheme for the ultimate happiness of His entire 
Creation." 

Arrogant Asceticism 

" The ascetic is a blasphemer of God and of the work 
for which God alone is responsible. By withdrawing him- 
self from the world of men he withdraws himself from 
human sympathy. By chastising the body and its natural 
emotions and desires, he chastises that which God has made 
as a temple for his soul to dwell in. By denying the pleasures 
of this world, he denies all the good which God has prepared 
and provided for him, and he wrongs the fair happiness 
of Nature and the order in which the Universe is planned. 
The so-called ' religious ' person who retires into a monas- 
tery, there to pray and fast and bemoan the ills of the flesh, 
is an imnatural creature and displeasing to his Maker. For 
God looked upon everything He had made and found it 
' good.' Good — ^not bad, as the arrogant ascetic would as- 
sume. Joy, not sorrow, should be the keynote of life — ^the 
world is not a ' vale of tears ' but a flower-filled garden, 
basking in the perpetual sunshine of the smile of God. 
What is called ' sin ' is the work of Man — God has no part 
in it. ' By pride the angels fell.' By pride Man delays 
his eternal delight. WVveti Vv^ ^ttswraft.^ lo he wiser than 



DREAMS WITHIN A DREAM 397 

his Creator, — when he endeavours to upset the organisation 
of Nature, and invents a kind of natural and moral code 
of his own, then comes disaster. The rule of a pure and 
happy life is to take all that God sends with thankfulness 
in moderation — ^the fruits of the earth, the joys of the 
senses, the love of one's fellow-creatures, the delights of 
the intellect, the raptures of the soul; and to find no fault 
with that which is and must ever be faultless. We hear 
of wise men and philosophers sorrowing over ' the pain^ 
and suffering of the world* — ^but the pain and suffering 
are wrought by Man alone, and Man's cruelty to his fellows. 
From Man's culpable carelessness and neglect of the laws 
of health has come every disease, as from Man's egotism, 
unbelief and selfishness have sprung all the crimes in the 
calendar." 

I paused here, for it seemed to me that it was getting 
dark, — at any rate I could not see to read very clearly. I 
looked at the window, but very little light came through it, 
— ^ sudden obscurity, like a heavy cloud, darkened all visible 
things. I quickly made up my mind that I would not yield 
to any more fanciful terrors, or leave the room, even if I 
saw another outlet that night. With this determination 
I undressed quickly and went to bed. As I laid my head 
on the pillow I felt a kind of coldness in the air which 
made me shiver a little — an ' uncanny ' sensation to which 
I would not yield. I saw the darkness thickening round 
me, and closed my eyes, resolving to rest — and so succeeded 
in ordering all my faculties to this end that within a very 
few minutes I was soundly asleep. 



I 



XIX 



THE UNKNOWN DEEP 

My slumber was so profound and dreamless that I have 
no idea how long it lasted, but when finally I awoke it was 
with a sense of the most vivid and appalling terror. Every 
nerve in my body seemed paralysed — ^I could not move or 
cry out,-7-invisible bands stronger than iron held me a 
prisoner on my bed — and I could only stare upwards in 
horror as a victim botmd to the rack might stare at the 
pitiless faces of his torturers. A Figure, tall, massive and 
clothed in black, stood beside me — I could not see its face — 
but I felt its eyes gazing down upon me with a remorse- 
less, cold inquisitiveness — sl silent, searching enquiry which 
answered itself without words. If every thought in my 
brain and every emotion of my soul could have been cut 
out of me with a dissecting knife and laid bare to outward 
inspection, those terrible eyes, probing deep into the very 
innermost recesses of my being, would have done the work. 

The beating of my heart sounded loud and insistent in 
imy own ears, — I lay still, trying to gain control over my 
trembling spirit, — ^and it was almost with an awful sense 
of relief that I saw the figure move at last from its rigid 
attitude and beckon me — ^beckon slowly and commandingly 
with one outstretched arm from which the black, dank 
draperies hung like drifting cloud. Mechanically obeying 
the signal, I strove to rise from my bed — ^and found that 
I could do so, — I sat up shiveringly, looking at the terrify- 

^^^ 



THE UNKNOWN DEEP 399 

ing Form that towered above me, enclosing me as it were 
in its own shadow — ^and then, managing to stand on my 
feet, though unsteadily, I mutely prepared to follow where 
it should lead. It moved on — ^and I went after it, com- 
pelled by some overpowering instinct against which I dared 
not rebel. Once the vague, half-formed thought flitted 
through my brain — " This is Death that summons me 
away," — ^till with the thought came the remembrance that 
according to the schooling I was receiving, there is no such 
thing as ' Death,' but only the imaginary phantom we call 
by that name. 

Slowly, sedately, and with an indescribable majesty of 
movement, the dark Figure glided on before me, and I, 
a trembling little creature, followed it, I knew not whither. 
There was no obstacle in our course, — doors, walls and 
windows seemed to melt asunder into nothingness as we 
passed — ^and there was no stop to our onward progress till 
suddenly I saw before me a steep and narrow spiral stair- 
way of stone winding up into the very centre of a rocky 
pinnacle, which in its turn lifted its topmost peak into the 
darkness of a night sky sprinkled with millions of stars. 
The sombre Figure paused : and again I felt the search-light 
of its invisible eyes burning through me. Then, as though 
satisfied with its brief survey, it began to ascend the spiral 
stair. 

I followed step by step, — ^the way was long and difficult 
— ^the sharp turns dizzying to the senses, and there seemed 
no end to the upward winding. Sometimes I stumbled and 
nearly fell — ^sometimes I groped on hands and knees, al- 
ways seeing before me the black-draped Form that moved 
on with such apparently little care as to whether or nod 
\ fared ill or well in my obedience to its simimons. M 

And now, as I climbed, all ^rts ot stt^jx^^ \svecw:sf«jfr 



400 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

began to creep into the crannies of my brain and perplex 
me with trouble and uncertainty. Chiefly did my mind 
dwell on cruelties — the cruelties practised by human beings 
to one another, — amoral cruelties especially, they being so 
much worse than any physical torture. I thought of the 
world's wicked mis judgments passed on those who arc 
greater in spirit than itself, — ^how, even when we endeavour 
to do good to others, our kindest actions are often repre- 
sented as merely so many forms of self-interest and self- 
seeking, — ^how our supposed ' best ' friends often wrong 
us and listen credulously to enviously invented tales against 
us, — how even in Love — ^ah! — Love! — ^that most etherial 
yet most powerful of passions. — 3, rough word, an un- 
merited slight, may separate for a lifetime those whose 
love would otherwise have been perfect. And still I climbed, 
and still I thought, and still the dark Phantom-Figure beck- 
oned me on and on. 

And then I began to consider that in climbing to some 
unknown, unseen height in deep darkness I was, after all, 
doing a wiser thing than living in the world with the ways 
of the world, — ways that are for the most part purely 
hypocritical, and are practised merely to overreach an<J. 
out-do one's fellow-men and women — ways of fashion^ 
ways of society, ways of government which arc merely 
temporary, while Nature, the invincible and ettmal, moves 
on her appointed course with the same inborn intension, 
namely, to destroy that which is evil and preserve onl}- that 
which is good. And Man, the sole maker of evil, the only 
opposer of Divine Order, fools himself into the belief thai 
his evil shall prosper and his falsehood be accepted as truth 
if he can only sham a sufficient show of religious faith to 
deceive himself and others on the ascending plane of His- 
tory. He who has mvttited Sm Vva^s \\Vlk^\s«. invented a 



THE UNKNOWN DEEP 401 

God to pardon it, for there is no sin in the natural Uni- 
verse. The Divine Law cannot pardon, for it is inviolate 
and bears no trespass without punishment. 

So I mused in my inward self, and still I climbed, keep- 
ing my eyes fixed on the Figure that led me on, and which 
now, having reached the end of the spiral stair, was slowly 
mounting to the highest peak of the rocky pinnacle which 
lifted itself to the stars. An icy wind began to blow, — 
my feet were bare, and I was thinly clad in my night-gear 
with only the addition of a white woollen wrap I had hastily 
flung round me for warmth when I left my bed to follow 
my spectral leader — and I shivered through and through 
with the bitter cold. Yet I went on resolutely, — indeed, 
having started on this perilous adventure, there was no re- 
turning, for when I looked back on the way I had come, 
the spiral stair had completely vanished, and there was 
nothing but black and empty space ! 

This discovery so terrified me that for the moment I 
lost breath, and I came to a halt in the very act of ascend- 
ing. Then I saw the Figure in front of me turn round 
with a threatening movement, and I felt that with one 
second more of hesitation I should lose my footing alto- 
gether and slip away into some vast abysmal depth of unim- 
aginable doom. Making a strong effort, I caught back my 
escaping self-control, and forced my shuddering limbs to 
obey my will and resume their work — ^and so, slowly, inch 
by inch, I resumed my climb, sick with giddiness and fear 
and chilled to the very heart. Presently I heard a rumbling 
roar like the sound of great billows rushing into hollow 
caverns which echoed their breaking in thuds of booming 
thunder. Looking up, I saw the Figure I had follow 
standing still; and I fancied that the sombre draperies 
which it was enveloped showed au oullvtsfe cA ^\snssxwc 




402 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

light. Fired by a sudden hope, I set myself to tread the 
difficult path anew, and presently I too stood still, beside 
my mysterious Leader. Above me was a heaven of stars; 
*— below an unfathomable deep of darkness where nothing 
was visible; — ^but from this nothingness arose a mighty 
turbulence as of an angry sea. I remained where I found 
myself, afraid to move;— one false step might, I felt, hurl 
me into a destruction which though it would not be actual 
death would certainly be something like chaos. Almost 
I felt ifldined to catch at the cloudy garments of the solemn 
Figure at my side for safety and protection, and while this 
desire was yet upon me it turned its veiled head towards 
me and spoke in a low, deep tone that was infinitely 
gentle. 

" So far ! — ^and yet not far enough ! '* it said — '* To what 
end wilt thou adventure for the sake of Love ? " 

" To no End whatsoever," — I answered with sudden 
boldness — " But to everlasting Continuance ! " 

Again I thought I saw a faint glowing light within its 
sombre draperies. 

" What wouldst thou do for Love ? " its voice again 
enquired — " Wouldst thou bear all things and believe all 
things? Canst thou listen to falsehood bearing witness 
against truth, and yet love on? Wilt thou endi^re all suf- 
fering, all misunderstanding, all coldness and cruelty, and 
yet keep thy soul bright as a burning lamp with the flame 
of faith and endeavour? Wouldst thou scale the heavens 
and plunge to the uttermost hell for the sake of him thou 
lovest, knowing that thy love must make him one with 
thee at the God-appointed hour ? " 

I looked up at the Figure, vainly striving to sec its 
face. 

*' All these things 1 vjould do\" 1 ^»sweced — " All that 



THE UNKNOWN DEEP 403 

is in the power of my soul to endure mortally or immor- 
tally, I will bear for Love's sake ! " 

Again the light flashed through its black garments. 
When it next spoke, its voice rang out harshly in ominous 
warning. 

" Thy lover is dead ! " it proclaimed — " He has passed 
from this sphere to another, and ye shall not meet again 
for many cycles of time ! Dost thou believe it? " 

A cold agony gripped my breast, but I would not yield 
to it, and answered resolutely — 

" No ! I do not believe it ! He could not die without 
my knowing and feeling the parting 0/ his soul from 
mine ! " 

There was a pause, in which only the thunder of that 
invisible sea far down below us was audible. Then the 
voice went on. 

" Thy lover is false ! " it said — *^ His love for thee was 
a passing mood — ^already he regrets — ^already he wearies 
in thought of thee and loves thee no more ! Dost thou be^ 
lieve it? " 

I took no time for thought, but answered at once with- 
out hesitation — 

" No ! For if he does not love me his Spirit lies ! — and 
no Spirit can lie ! " 

Another pause. Then the voice put this question — 

" Dost thou truly believe in God, thy Creator, the Maker 
of heaven and earth? " 

Lifting my eyes half in hope, half in appeal to the starry 
deep sky above me, I replied fervently — 

" I do believe in Him with all my soul ! " 

A silence followed which seemed long and weighted wi 
suspense. Then the voice spoke once more — 

Dost thou believe in Love, the generator of Ll€€\ 



a 




404 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

and the moving Cause and Mind of all created things ?** 

And again I replied— 

"With all my soul!" ' 

The Figure now bent slightly towards me, and the light 
within its darkness became more defined and brilliant. Pres- 
ently an arm and hand, white and radiant — sl shape as of 
living flame — was slowly outstretched from the enfolding 
black draperies. It pointed steadily to the abyss below me. 

" If thy love is so great " — said the voice — " If thy faith 
is so strong — if thy trust in God is sure and perfect — 
descend thither ! " 

I heard — but could not credit my own hearing. I gazed 
at the shrouded and veiled speaker — at the commanding 
arm that signed my mortal body to destruction. For a 
moment I was lost in wild terror and wilder doubt. Was 
this fearful suggestion a temptation or a test? Should it 
be obeyed ? I strove to find the centre-poise of my own self 
— ^to gather all my forces together, — ^to make myself sure 
of my own will and responsible for my own deeds, — and 
then — ^then I paused. All that was purely mortal in me 
shuddered on the brink of the Unknown. One look up- 
ward to the soft gloom of the purple sky and its myriad 
stars — one horrified glance downward at the dark depth 
where I heard the roaring of the sea ! I clasped my hands 
in a kind of prayerful desperation, and looked once more 
at the solemn Shadow beside me. 

"If thy love is so great! " it repeated, in slow and im- 
pressive tones — " If thy faith is so strong! If thy trust in 
God is so sure and perfect ! " 

There came a moment of tense stillness — a moment in 
which my life seemed detached from myself so that I held 
it like a palpitating separate creature in my hands. Sud- 
denly the recollection of the last vision of all those I liad 



THE UNKNOWN DEEP 405 

seen among the dark mountains of Coruisk came back to 
me vividly — ^that of the woman who had knelt outside a 
barred gate in Heaven, waiting to enter in — " O leave her 
not always exiled and alone ! " I had prayed then — " Dear 
Gk)d, have pity ! Unbar the gate and let her in 1 She has 
waited so long ! " 

A sob broke unconsciously from my lips — ^my eyes filled 
with burning tears that blinded me. Imploringly I turned 
towards the relentless Figure beside me once more — its 
hand still pointed downwards — ^and -again I seemed to hear 
the words — 

" If thy love is so great! If thy faith is so strong! If 
thy trust in God is so sure and perfect ! " 

And then I suddenly fotmd my own Soul's centre, — ^the 
very basis of my own actual being — ^and standing firmly 
upon that plane of imperishable force, I came to a quick 
resolve. 

" Nothing can destroy me ! " I said within myself — 
" Nothing can slay the immortal part of me, and nothing 
can separate my soul from the soul of my beloved ! In all 
earth, in all heaven, there is no cause for fear ! ** 

Hesitating no longer, I closed my eyes, — then extending 
my clasped hands I threw myself forward and plunged into 
the darkness! — down, down, interminably down! A light 
'followed me like a meteoric shaft of luminance piercing 
the blackness — I retained sufficient consciousness to wonder 
at its brilliancy, and for a time I was borne along in my 
descent as though on wings. Down, still down! — and I 
saw ocean at my feet! — z heaving mass of angry waters 
flecked with a wool-like fleece of foam ! 

" The Change that is called Death, but which is Life I 

This was the only clear thought that flashed like lightniq 
through my brain as I sank swiftly towards the engulfin 



406 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

desert of the sea! — ^then everything swirled into darkness 
and silence I 

4c 4c 4c 

4c 

A delicate warm glow like the filtering of sunbeams 



through shaded silk and crystal — a fragrance of roses — ^al 
delicious soimd of harp-like music — to these things I was 
gradually awakened by a gentle pressure on my brows. I 
looked up-^-and my whole heart relieved itsdf in a long 
deep sigh of ecstasy! — it was Aselzion himself who bent 
over me, — ^Aselzion whose grave blue eyes watched me with 
earnest and anxious solicitude. I smiled up at him in re- 
sponse to his wordless questioning as to how I felt, and 
would have risen but that he imperatively signed to me to 
lie still. 

" Rest ! " he said, — ^and his voice was very low and ten- 
der. " Rest, poor child ! You have done more than well ! " 

Another sigh of pure happiness escaped me, — I stretched 
out my arms lazily like one aroused from a long and re- 
freshing slumber. My sensations were now perfectly ex- 
quisite; a fresh and radiant life seemed pouring itself 
through my veins, and I was content to remain a perfectly 
passive recipient of such an inflow of health and joy. The 
room I found myself in was new to me — it seemed made 
up of lovely colourings and a profusion of sweet flowers 
— I lay enshrined as it were in the centre of a little temple 
of beauty. I had no desire to move or to speak, — every 
trouble, every difficulty had passed from my mind, and I 
watched Aselzion dreamily as he brought a chair to the 
side of my couch and sat down — then, taking my hand in 
his, felt my pulse with an air of close attention. 

I smiled again. 



THE UNKNOWN DEEP -|07 






** Does it still beat ? " I asked, finding my voice suddenly 

" Surely the great sea has drowned it ! " 

Still holding my hand, he looked full into my eyes. 
Many waters cannot quench love ' ! " he quoted softly. 

Dear child, you have proved that truth. Be satisfied ! " 

Raising myself on my pillows, I studied his grave face 
with an earnest scrutiny. 

"Tell me,"— I half whispered— " Have I failed?" 

He pressed my hand encouragingly, 

" No ! You have almost conquered ! " 

Almost! Only 'almost'! I sank back again on the 
couch, wondering and waiting. He remained beside me 
quite silent. After a little the tension of suspense became 
unbearable and I spoke again — 

" How did I escape ? " I asked — " Who saved me when 
I feU?" 

He smiled gravely. 

" There was nothing to escape from " — ^he answered — 
** And no one saved you since you were not in danger." 

" Not in danger ! " I echoed, amazed. 

" No ! Only from yourself ! " 

I gazed at him, utterly bewildered. He gave me a kind 
and reassuring glance. 

" Have patience ! " he said, gently — ^" All shall be ex- 
plained to you in good time! Meanwhile this apartment 
is yours for the rest of your stay here, which will not now 
be long — I have had all your things removed from the 
Probation room in the tower, so that you will no more 
be troubled by its scenic transformations ! " Here he 
smiled again. " I will leave you now to recover from the 
terrors through which you have passed so bravely; — rest 
and refresh yourself thoroughly, for you have nothing 
more to fear. When you are qu\t^ i^aA^ VovisJcw 'Cks.V — 



4o8 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

and he pointed to a bell — " I shall hear its summons and 
will come to you at once." 

Before I could say a word to detain him, he had retired, 
and I was left alone. 

I rose from my couch, — ^and the first impression I had was 
that of a singular ease and lightness — ^a sense of physical 
strength and well-being that was delightful beyond expres- 
sion. The loveliness and peace of the room in which I was 
enchanted me, — everything my eyes rested upon suggested 
beauty. The windows were shaded with rose silk hangings 
— and when I drew these aside I looked out on a marble 
loggia or balcony overhung with climbing roses, — ^this, in 
its turn, opened on an exquisite glimpse of garden and blue 
sea. There was no clock anywhere to tell me the time of 
day, but the sun was shining, and I imagined it must be 
afternoon. Adjoining this luxurious apartment was an 
equally luxurious bathroom, furnished with every conceiva- 
ble elegance, — ^the bath itself was of marble, and the water 
bubbled up from its centre like a natural spring, sparkling 
as it came. I found all my clothes, books and other belong- 
ings arranged with care where I could most easily get at 
them, and to my joy the book ' The Secret of Life,' which 
I thought I had lost on my last perilous adventure, lay on 
a small table by itself like a treasure set apart. 

I bathed and dressed quickly, allowing myself no time 
to think upon any strange or perplexing point in my ad- 
ventures, but giving myself entirely up to the joy of the 
new and ecstatic life which thrilled through me. A mirror 
in the room showed me my own face, happy and radiant, — 
my own eyes bright and smiling, — no care seemed to have 
left a trace on my features, and I was fully conscious of 
a perfect strength and health that made the mere act of 
breathing a pleasure. Itv z. n^t^ ^VvotI time I was ready 



THE UNKNOWN DEEP 409 

to receive Aselzion, and I touched the bell he had indicated 
as a signal. Then I sat down by the window and looked 
out on the fair prospect before me. How glorious was the 
world, I thought ! — ^how full of perfect beauty ! That heav- 
enly blue of sky and sea melting into one — ^the tender hues 
of the clambering roses against the green of the surround- 
ing foliage — ^the lovely light that filtered through the air 
like powdered gold ! — were not all these things to be thank- 
ful for? and can there be any real unhappiness so long 
as our Souls are in tune with the complete harmony of 
Creation ? 

Hearing a step behind me, I rose — ^and with a glad smile 
stretched out my hands to Aselzion, who had just then en- 
tered. He took them in his own and pressed them lightly — 
then drawing a chair opposite to mine, he sat down. His 
face expressed a certain gravity, and his voice when he 
began to speak was low and gentle. 

" I have much to tell you " — ^he said — '^ but I will make 
it as brief as I can. You came here to pass a certain psychic 
ordeal — ^and you have passed it successfully — ^all but the 
last phase. Of that we will speak presently. For the mo- 
ment you are under the impression that you have been 
through certain episodes of a more or less perplexing and 
painful nature. So you have — ^but not in the way you think. 
•Nothing whatever has happened to you, save in your own 
mind — ^your adventures have been purely mental — ^and were 
the result of several brains working on yours and com- 
pelling you to see and to hear what they chose. There 1— 
do not look so startled ! " — for I had risen with an involun- 
tary exclamation — " I will explain everything quite clearly, 
and you will soon understand." 

He paused — ^and I sat down again by the window, won- 
dering and waiting. 



1 



4IO THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

" In this world," he went on, slowly — " it is not climate, 
or natural surroundings that affect man so much as the 
influences brought to bear upon him by his fellow-men. 
Human beings really live surrounded by the waves of 
thought flung off by their own brains and the brains of 
those around them, — and this is the reason why, if they are 
not strong enough to find a centre-poise, they are influenced 
by ways and moods of thought which would never be their 
own by choice and free-will. If a mind, or let us say a 
Soul, can resist the impressions brought to bear upon it 
by other forces than itself — if it can stand alone, clear of 
obstacle, in the light of the Divine Image, then it has gained 
a mastership over all things. But the attainment of such a 
position is difficult enough to be generally impossible. Influ- 
ences work around us everywhere, — men and women with 
great aims in life are swept away from their intentions by 
the indifference or discouragement of their friends — ^brave 
deeds are hindered from accomplishment by the suggestion 
of fears which do not really exist — and the daily scattering 
and waste of psychic force and powerful mentality by dis- 
turbing or opposing brain-waves, is sufficient to make the 
world a perfect paradise were it used to that end." 

He waited a moment — ^then bent his eyes earnestly upon 
me as he resumed — 

" You do not need to be told by me that you have lived 
on this earth before, and that you have many times been 
gently yet forcibly drawn into connection with the other 
predestined half of yourself,— that Soul of love which 
blindly seeking, you have often rejected when found — not 
of yourself have you rejected it — ^but simply because of 
the influences around you to which you have yielded. Now 
in this further phase of your existence you have been given 
another chance — ^another op^oT\Am\l^. It U quite possible 



THE UNKNOWN DEEP 411 

that had you not come to me you would have lost your 
happiness again, and it was this knowledge which made 
me receive you, against all the rules of our Order, when I 
saw that you were fairly resolved. Your ordeal would 
have been longer had you not made the first bold advance 
yourself on the occasion of your entrance into our chapel 
The light of the Cross and Star drew you, and your Soul 
obeyed the attraction of its native element. Had you op- 
posed its intention by doubts and fears, I should have had 
more trouble with you than I should have cared to under- 
take. But you made the first step yourself with a rare 
cotuage — ^the rest was comparatively easy." 

He paused again and again went on. 

" I have already said that you are under the impression 
0/ having gone through certain adventures or episodes, 
which have more or less distressed and perplexed you* 
These things have had no existence except in your mind! 
When I took you up to your room in the turret, I placed 
you under my influence and under the influence of four 
other brains acting in conjunction with myself. We took 
entire possession of your mentality, and made it as far 
as possible like a blank slate, on which we wrote what we 
chose. The test was to see whether your Soul, which is 
the actual You, could withstand and overcome our sug- 
gestions. At first hearing, this sounds as if we had played 
a trick upon you for our own entertainment — but it is not 
so, — it is merely an application of the most powerful lesson 
in life — namely, the resistance and conquest of the inHu- 
ences of others, which are the most disturbing and weaken- 
ing forces we have to contend with." 

I began to see clearly what he meant me to understand 
and I hung upon his words with eager attention. 

*'You have only to look about you in the world" ba' 



412 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

continued — " to realise the truth of what I say. Every day 
you may meet some soul whose powers of accomplishment 
might be superb if it were not for the restricting influences 
to which it allows itself to succumb. How often do you 
not come upon a man or woman of brilliant genius, who is 
nevertheless rendered incompetent by opposing influences,! 
and who therefore lives the life of a bird in a cage! Take 
the thousands of men wrongly mated, whose very wives 
and children drag them down and kill every spark of ambi- 
tion and accomplishment within them ! Take the thousands 
of women persuaded or forced into unions with men whose 
low estimate of woman's intellect coarsens and degrades 
her to a level from which it is almost impossible to rise! 
This is the curse of ' influences ' — ^the magnetic currents 
of other brains which set our own awry, and make half 
the trouble and mischief in the world. Not one soul in 
a hundred thousand has force or courage to resist them! 
The man accustomed to live with a wife who without doing 
any other harm, simply kills his genius by the mere fact 
of her daily contact, moods, and methods, makes no effort 
to shake himself free from the apathy her influence causes, 
but simply sinks passively into inaction. The woman, 
bound to a man who insists on considering her lower than 
himself, and often pulled this way and that by the selfish 
desires or aims of her children or other family belongings, 
becomes a mere domestic drudge or machine, with no higher 
aims than are contained in the general ordering of house- 
hold business. Love, — the miraculous touchstone which 
turns everything to gold, — is driven out of the circle of 
Life with the result that Life itself grows weary of its 
present phase, and makes haste to seek another more 
congenial. Hence proceeds what we call age and 
death." 



THE UNKNOWN DEEP 413 

I was about to interrupt by an eager question — but he 
silenced me by a gesture. 

" Your position/' he went on — " from a psychic standard, 
— ^which is the only necessary, because the only lasting atti- 
tude, — ^is that of being brought into connection with the 
other half of your spiritual and immortal Ego, — which 
means the possession of perfect love, and with it perfect^ 
life. And because this is so great a gift, and so entirely 
Divine, influences are botmd to offer opposition in order 
that the Soul may make its choice voluntarily. Therefore, 
when I, and the other brains acting with me, placed you 
under our power, we impressed you with all that most 
readily shakes the feminine mind— -doubt, jealousy, sus- 
picion, and all the wretched terrors these wretched emo- 
tions engender. We suggested the death of Rafel Santoris 
as well as his treachery, — ^you heard, as you thought, voices 
behind a wall — ^but there were no voices — only the sugges- 
tion of voices in your mind. You saw strange phantoms 
and shadows, — ^they had no existence except in so far as 
we made them exist and present themselves to your mental 
vision. You wandered away into unknown places, so you 
imagined, — ^but as a matter of fact you never left your 
room! " 

" Never left my room ! " I echoed — " Oh, that cannot 
je!"  j 

" It can be, because it is ! " he answered me, smiling 
gravely — *^ The only thing in your experience that was real 
was the finding of the book ' The Secret of Life * — in the 
purple-draped shrine. Here it is " — ^and he took it up from 
the table on which it lay — " and if you had turned it over 
a little more, you would have found this " — ^and he rea 
aloud — /] 

** * All action is the material result of Thought Suffa 



414 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

ing is the result of thinking into ^atn— disease the result 
of thinking into weakness. Every emotion is the result of 
wrong or right thinking, with one exception — Love. Love 
is not an Emotion but a Principle, and as the generator 
of Life pervades all things, and is all things. Thought, 
working within this Principle, creates the things of beauty 
and lastingness, — Thought, working outside this Principle; 
equally creates the things of terror, doubt, confusion, and 
destruction. There is no other Secret of Life — ^no other 
Elixir of Youth — ^no other Immortality ! ' " 

He pronotmced the last words with gentle and impressive 
emphasis, and a great sweetness and calm filled my mind 
as I listened. 

" I — or I should say we — for four of my Brethren were 
deeply interested in you on account of the courage yoU had 
shown — ^we took you up to the utmost height of endurance 
in the way of mental terror — ^and, to our great joy, found 
your Soul strong enough to baffle and conquer the ultimate 
suggestion of Death itself. You held firmly to the truth 
that there is no death, and with that spiritual certainty 
risked all for Love. Now we have released you from our 
apells ! " — and his eyes were full of kindness as he looked 
at me — " and I want to know if you thoroughly realise the 
importance of the lesson we have taught ? " 

I met his enquiring glance fully and steadily. 

" I think I do,'' — I said — " You mean that I must stand 
alone?" 

" Alone, yet not alone ! " — he answered, and his fine face 
was transfigured into light with its intense feeling and 
power — " Alone with Love ! — ^which is to say alone with 
God, and therefore surrounded by all god-like, lasting and 
revivifying things. You will go back from this place to 
the world of conventions, — ^and you will meet a million 



THE UNKNOWN DEEP 415 

influences to turn you from your chosen way. Opinion, 
criticism, ridicule, calumny and downright misunderstand^ 
ing — ^these will come out against you like armed foes, 
bristling at every point with weapons of oflfence. If you 
tell them of your quest of life and youth and love, and of 
your experience here, they will cover you with their mockery 
and derision — if you were to breathe a word of the love 
between you and Rafel Santoris, a thousand efforts would 
be instantly made to separate you, one from the other, and 
snatch away the happiness you have won. How will you 
endure these trials ? — ^what will be your method of action ? '* 

I thought a moment. 

" The same that I have tried to practise here " — I an- 
swered — '^ I shall believe nothing of ill report — but only of 
good." 

He bent his eyes upon me searchingly. 

" Remember," he said — " what force there is in a storm 
of opinion ! The fiercest gale that ever blew down strong 
trees and made havoc of men's dwellings is a mere whisper 
compared with the fury of human minds set to destroy 
one heaven-aspiring soul ! Think of the petty grudge borne 
by the loveless against Love ! — ^the spite of the restless and 
unhappy against those who have won peace ! All this you 
will have to bear, — for the world is envious — ^and even a 
friend breaks down in the strength of friendship when 
thwarted or rendered jealous by a greater and more resist- 
less power ! " 

I sighed a little. 

*' I have few friends," — I said — " Certainly none that 
have ever thought it worth while to know my inner and 
truest self. Most of them are glad to be my friends if I 
go their way — ^but if I choose a way of my own their 
' friendship ' becomes mere quarrel. But I talk of choosing^ 



4i6 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 



31 way! How can I choose — ^yet? You say my ordeal is 
hot over ? " 

" It will be over to-night/* — he answered — " And I have 
every hope that you will pass through it unflinchingly. 
You have not heard from Santoris ? " 

The question gave me a little thrill of surprise. 

" Heard from him ? — No '' — I replied — " He never sug- 
gested writing to me." 

Aselzion smiled. 

" He is too closely in touch with you to need other cor- 
respondence," — ^he said — " But be satisfied that he is safe 
and well. No misadventure has befallen him." 

" Thank God ! " I murmured. " And— if " 

" If he loves you no more," — ^went on Aselzion — ^^ If he 
has made an ' error of selection ' as the scientists would 
say, and is not even now sure of his predestined helper and 
inspirer whose love will lift him to th^ highest attainment — 
what then ? " 

" What then ? Why, I must submit ! " I answered, slowly 
— " I can wait, even for another thousand years ! " 

There was a silence, during which I felt Aselzion's eyes 
upon me. Then he spoke again in a lighter tone. 

"Let us for the moment talk of what the world calls 
' miracle ' " — he said — " I believe you are just now con- 
scious of perfect health, and of a certain joy in the mere 
fact of life. Is it not so? " 

Smiling, I bent my head in acquiescence. 

" Understand then " — he continued — " that while you 
control the life- forces of which you are made, by the power 
of an all-commanding spirit, this perfect health, this cer- 
tain joy will continue. And more than this — everything in 
Nature will serve you to this end. You have but to ask 
your servants and they yj\\\ oXi^-^ . ^^^Vl o£ the sun its 



THE UNKNOWN DEEP 417 

wannth and radiance, — it will answer with a quick bestowal 
—ask of the storm and wind and rain their powers of 
passion, — ^they will give you their all, — ^ask of the rose its 
fragrance and colour, and the very essence of it shall steal 
into your blood, — ^there is nothing you shall seek that you 
will not find. Try your own powers now ! *' — ^and with 
the word he got up and opened the window a little wider, 
then signed to me to step out on the balcony — " Here are 
roses climbing up on their appointed way — ^bend them to- 
wards you by a single effort of the will ! " 

I gazed at him in complete surprise and bewilderment. 
His answering looks were imperative. 

" By a single effort of the will ! " he repeated. 

I obeyed him. Raising my eyes to the roses where they 
clambered upwards round the loggia, I inwardly com- 
manded them to turn towards me. The effect was in- 
stantaneous. As though blown by a light breeze they all 
bent down with their burden of bright blossom — some of 
the flowers touching my hands. 

" That would be called ' miraculous ' by the ignorant," 
said Aselzion — " And it is nothing more than the physical 
force of the magnetic light-rays within you, which, being 
focused in a single effort, draw the roses down pliantly 
to your will. No more miracle is there in this than that 
of the common magnet which has been vainly trying to 
teach us lessons about ourselves these n)any years. Now, 
relax your will ! " 

Again I obeyed, and the roses moved gently away and 
upward to their former branching height. 

" This is an object lesson for you," — said Aselzion, smil- 

I 

ing then — " You must understand that you are now in a 
position to draw everything to you as easily as you drew 
those roses ! You can draw the germs of health a.tvd \5iSft, 



4i8 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

to mix and mingle with your blood — or — ^you can equally 
draw the germs of disease and disintegration. The action 
is with you. From the stm you can draw fresh fuel for 
your brain and nerves — from the air the sustenance you de- 
mand — from beautiful things their beauty, from wise things 
their learning, from powerful things their force — nothing 
can resist the radiating energy you possess if you only 
remember how to employ it. In every action it must be 
focused on the given point — ^it must not be disturbed or 
scattered. The more often it is used the more powerful it 
becomes — ^the more all-conquering. But never forget that 
it must work within the Creative Principle of Love — ^not 
outside it." 

I sat absorbed and half afraid. 

"And to-night ?" I said, softly. 

He rose from his chair and stood up to his full superb 
stature, looking down upon me with a certain mingling of 
kindness and pity. 

" To-night,'* — he replied — " we shall send for you ! You 
will confront the Brethren, as one who has passed the same 
mental test through which they are passing ! And you will 
face the last fear! I do not think you will go back upon 
yourself — I hope not — I strongly desire you to keep your 
courage to the end ! '* 

I ventured to touch his hand. 

" And afterwards ? " I queried. 

He smiled. 

" Afterwards — Life and its secrets are all with you and 
Love!" 



XX 



INTO THE LIGHT 

When I was left alone once more I gave myself up to 
the enchanting sense of perfect happiness that now seemed 
to possess my whole being. The world of glorious Nature 
showed me an aspect of brilliancy and beauty that could no 
more be shadowed by fear or foreboding — it was a mirror 
in which I saw reflected the perfect Mind of the Divine. 
Nothing existed to terrify or daunt the advancing Soul 
which had become cognisant of its own capabilities, and 
which, by the very laws governing it, is preordained to rise 
to the utmost height of supernal power. I had dimly 
guessed this truth — ^but I had never surely known it till 
now. Now, I recognised that everything is and must be 
subservient to this interior force which exists to ' replenish 
the earth and subdue it ' — ^and that nothing can hinder the 
accomplishment of its resolved Will. As I sat by the win- 
dow thinking and dreaming, I began to wonder what would 
be the nature of that ' last fear ' of which Aselzion had 
spoken ? Why should the word ' fear ' be mentioned, when 
there was no cause for fear of any kind? Fear can only 
arise from a sense of cowardice, — ^and cowardice is the off- 
spring of weakness. From this argument it followed that 
my strength was not yet thoroughly tested to Aselzion*- 
satisfaction, — ^that he still thought it possible that son 
latent weakness in my spirit might display itself on furthi 
trial. And I resolved that if such was his idea, he shoul 

419 



420 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

be proved wrong. Nothing, I vowed, should move me now 
— ^not all the world arrayed in arms against me should 
hinder my advance towards the completion of myself in 
the love of my Beloved! 

I have already said that there was no visible chronicle 
of time in the House of Aselzion, save such as was evi- 
denced by the broadening or waning light of day. Just now 
I knew it was late afternoon, as the window where I sat 
faced the west, and the stm was sinking in a blaze of glory 
immediately opposite to me. Bars of gold and purple and 
pale blue formed a kind of cloud gateway across the heav- 
ens, and behind this the splendid orb shone in a halo of 
deep rose. Watching the royal pageantry of colour on all 
sides, I allowed myself to go forth as it were in spirit to 
meet and absorb it, — inwardly I set my whole being in tune 
with the great wave of light which opened itself over the 
sea and land, and as I did so found every nerve in my 
body thrilled with responsive ecstasy, even as harpstrings 
may be thrilled into sound by the sweep of the wind. I 
rose and went out, through the loggia into the garden — 
feeling more like a disembodied spirit than a mortal, so light 
and free and joyous were my very movements — so entirely 
in unison was I with everything in Nature. The sunset 
bathed me in its ruby and purple magnificence, — I lifted 
my eyes to the heavens and murmured almost unconsciously 
— " Thank God for Life! Thank God for Love! Thank 
God for all that Life and Love must bring to me ! " 

A sea-gull soaring inland flew over my head with a little 
cry — its graceful poise reminded me of the days I had 
passed in Morton Harland's yacht, when I had watched 
so many of these snow-white creatures dipping into the 
waves, and soaring up again to the skies — and on a sudden 
impulse I stretched oul ray Vv^ivdi, di^V^xmvava^ to stay the 



INTO THE LIGHT 421 

bird's flight if I could and bring it down to me. The effort 
succeeded, — ^slowly, and as if checked by some obstacle it 
felt but could not see, the lovely winged thing swept round 
and round in an ever descending circle and finally alighted 
on my wrist. I held it so for a moment — it turned its 
head towards me, its ruby-brown eyes sparkling in the sun 
— ^then I tossed it off again into the air of its own freedom, 
where after another circling sweep or two it disappeared, 
and I walked on in a happy reverie, realising that what I 
could do with the visible things of Nature I could do as 
easily with the invisible. A sense of power vibrated 
through me * — ^power to command, and power to resist, — 
power that forbade all hesitation, vacillation or uncer- 
tainty — ^power which being connected by both physical and 
spiritual currents with this planet, the Earth, and the at- 
mosphere by which it is surrounded, lifts all that it desires 
towards itself, as it rejects what it does not need. 

Returning slowly through the garden, and lingering by 
the beds of flowers that adorned it, I noticed how when 
I bent over any particular blossom, it raised itself towards 
me as though drawn upward by a magnet. I was not 
inclined to gather a single one for my own pleasure — some 
occult sympathy had become established between me and 
these beautiful creations — and I could no more sever a 
rose from its stem than I could kill a bird that sang its 
little song to me. On re-entering my room I found the 
usual refection prepared for me — fresh fruit and bread and 
water — ^the only kind of food I was allowed. It was quite 
sufficient for me, — in fact I had not f-elt at any time the 
sensation of hunger. I began to wonder how long I ha-^ 

 

 The philosophy of Plato teaches that Man originally by the pom 
of the Divine Image within him could control all Nature, but gradtui 
lost this power through his own fault. ^ 



422 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

been a ' probationer ' in the House of Aselzion ? Days or 
weeks ? I could not tell. I was realising the full truth that 
with the things of the infinite time has no existence, and 
I recalled the verse of the ancient psalm : 

** A thousand ages in Thy sight 
Are like an evening gone. 
Short as the watch that ends the night 
Before the rising sun." 

And while my thoughts ran in this groove, I opened the 
book of the ' Secret of Life * — ^and as if in answer to my 
inward communing, found the following: 

The Delusion of Tii:? 

" Time has no existence outside this planet. Humanity 
counts its seasons, its days and hours by the Sun — ^but 
beyond the Sun there are millions and trillions of other 
and larger suns, compared with which our guiding orb is 
but a small star. Out in the infinitude of space there is 
no Time, but only Eternity. Therefore the Soul which 
knows itself to be eternal should associate itself with eternal 
things, and should never count its existence by years. To 
its Being there can be no end — ^therefore it never ages and 
never dies. It is only the sham religionists who talk of 
death, — it is only the inefficient and unspiritual who talk of 
age. The man who allows himself to sink into feebleness 
and apathy merely because of the passing of years has 
some mental or spiritual weakness in him which he has 
not the Will to overcome — the woman who suffers her 
beauty and freshness to wane and fade on account of what 
she or her ' dearest * friends are pleased to call * age,' shows 
that she is destitute ol spvcVtvxaX ^^\i-^owltol. The Soul 



INTO THE LIGHT 423 

is always young, and its own radiation can preserve the 
youth of the Body in which it Swells. Age and decrepitude 
come to those with whom the Soul is 'an unknown quan- 
tity/ The Soul is the only barrier against the forces of 
disintegration which break down eflfete substances in 
preparation for the change which humanity calls 'Death.* 
If the barrier is not strong enough, the enemy takes the 
city. These facts are simple and true; too simple and too 
true to be accepted by the world. The world goes to church 
and asks a Divinity to save its soul, practically showing in 
all its ways of society and government an utter disbelief 
in the Soul's existence. Men and women die when they 
might as well have lived. If we examine into the cause 
of their deaths we shall find it in the manner of their lives. 
Obstinacy and selfishness have murdered more human be- 
ings than any other form of plague. The blasphemy of 
sham religion has insulted the majesty of the Creator more 
than any other form of sin, and He has answered it by His 
Supreme Silence. The man who attends a ritual of prayer 
which he does not honestly believe in, merely for the sake 
of social custom and observance, is openly deriding his 
Maker, and the priests who gain their living out of such 
ritual are trading on the Divine. Let the people of this 
Earth be taught that they live not in Time but Eternity, — 
that their thoughts, words and deeds are recorded minutely 
and accurately — ^and that each individual human unit is ex- 
pected to contribute towards the general beauty and adorn- 
ment of God's scheme of Perfection. Every man, every 
woman, must give of his or her best. The artist must give 
his noblest art, not for what it brings to him personally of 
gain or renown, but for what it does to others in the way 
of uplifting; — ^the poet must give his highest thought, not 
for praise, but for love; — ^the very craftsman must do his 






424 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

best and strongest work not for the coin paid, but for the 
fact that it is work, and as such must be done well — ^and 
none must imagine that they can waste the forces where- 
with they have been endowed. For no waste and no indo- 
lence is permitted, and in the end no selfishness. The atti- 
tude of the selfish human being is pure disintegration, — a 
destroying microbe which crumbles and breaks down the 
whole constitution, not only ruining the body but the mind, 
and frequently making havoc of the very wealth that has 
been too selfishly guarded. For wealth is ephemeral as 
fame— only Love and the Soul are the lasting things of 
God, the Makers of Life and the Rulers of Eternity.*' 

So far I read — ^then laying down my book I listened. 
Music, solemn and exquisitely beautiful, stole on my ears 
from the far distance — it seemed to float through the open 
window as though in a double chorus — ^rising from the 
sea and falling from the heavens. Delicious harmonies 
trembled through the air, soft as fine rain falling on roses, 
— and with their penetrating tenderness a thousand sug- 
gestions, a thousand memories came to me, all infinitely 
sweet. I began to think that even if Rafel Santoris were 
separated from me by some mischance, or changed to me 
in any way, it need not aflfect me over-much so long as 
I cherished the love I had for him in my own soul. Ouf 
passion was of a higher quality than the merely material, — 
it was material and spiritual together, the spiritual pre- 
dominating, thus making of it the only passion that can last 
What difference could a few years more or less bring, if 
we were bound, by the eternal laws governing us, to be- 
come united in the end? The joy of life is to love rather 
than to be loved, — and the recipient of love is never so 
fully conscious of petiecl Vva^v^tv^'&% ^.s ^^ ^n^. 



INTO THE LIGHT 425 

The music went on in varying moods of lovely harmony, 
and my mind, like a floating cloud, drifted lazily above 
the waves of sound. I thought compassionately of the 
unrest and discontent of thousands who devote themselves 
to the smallest and narrowest aims in life, — ^people with 
whom the loss of a mere article of wearing apparel is more 
important than a national difficulty — ^people who devote all^ 
their faculties to social schemes of self -aggrandisement — 
people who discuss trifles till discussion is worn threadbare, 
and ears are tired and brain is weary — ^people who, assum- 
ing to be religious and regular chtu-ch-goers, yet do the 
meanest things, and have no scruple in playing the part of 
tale-bearer and mischief-maker, setting themselves delib- 
erately to break friendships and destroy love — ^people who 
talk of God as though He were their intimate, and who 
have by their very lives drawn everything of God out of 
them — ^I thought of all these, I say — ^and I thought how 
different this world would be if men would hold by the 
noblest ideals, and suffer the latent greatness in them to 
have its way — ^if they would truly rule their own universe 
and not allow its movements to fall into chaos — ^how fair 
life would become! — how replete with health and joy! — 
what a paradise would be created around us! — ^and what 
constant benediction we should draw down upon us from 
the Most High! And gradually as I sat absorbed in my 
own reveries the afternoon waned into twilight, and twi- 
light into dusk — one star brilliant as a great diamond, 
flashed out suddenly above a rift of cloud — ^and a soft dark- 
ness began to creep stealthily over sky and sea. I moved 
away from the window and paced slowly up and down the 
room, waiting and wondering. The music still continued, 
—but it had now grown slower and more solemn, and 
sounded like a great organ being played in a cathedral. It 



426 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

impressed me with a sense of prayer and praise — more of 
praise than prayer, for I had nothing to pray for, God 
having given me my own Soul, which was all ! 

As the darkness deepened, a soft suffused light illumined 
the room — and I now noticed that it was the surface of the 
walls that shone in this delicate yet luminous way. I put 
my hand on the wall nearest to me — it was quite cold to 
the touch, yet bright to the eyes, and was no more fatiguing 
to look at than the sunshine on a landscape. I could not 
understand how the light was thus arranged and used, but 
its effect was beautiful. As I walked to and fro, looking 
at the various graceful and artistic objects which adorned 
the room, I perceived an easel, on which a picture was placed 
with a curtain of dark velvet drawn across it. Moved by 
curiosity, I drew the curtain aside, — ^and my heart gave a 
quick bound of delight, — it was an admirably painted por- 
trait of Rafel Santoris. The grave blue eyes looked into 
my own, — ^a smile rested on the firm, handsome mouth — 
the whole picture spoke to me and seemed to ask * Where- 
fore didst thou doubt?' I stood gazing at it for several 
minutes, enrapt, — realising how much even the ' counterfeit 
presentment ' of a beloved face may mean. And then I 
began to think how strange it is that we never seem ready 
to admit the strong insistence of Nature on individuality 
and personality. Up at a vast height above the Elarth, 
and looking down upon a crowd of people from the car of 
a balloon, or from an aeroplane, all human beings look tha 
same — just one black mass of tiny moving units; but, in 
descending among them, we find every face and figure 
wholly different, and though all are made on the same 
model there are no two alike. Yet there are many who 
argue and maintain that though individual personality in 
bodies may be strongly matk^d, iVv^t^ V5> xvcs mdlvidual per* 



INTO THE LIGHT 427 

sonality in souls — ergo, that Nature thinks so little of the 
Intelligent Spirit inhabiting a mortal form that she limits 
individuality to that which is subject to change and has 
no care for it in that which is eternal ! Such an hypothesis 
is absurd on the face of it, since it is the Soul that gives 
individuality to the Body. The individual personality of 
Rafel Santoris, expressed even in his painted portrait, ap- 
pealed to me as being that of one I had loved long and 
tenderly, — ^there was no strangeness in his features but only 
an adorable familiarity. Long long ago, in centuries that 
had proved like mere days down the vista of time, the Soul 
in those blue eyes had looked love into mine ! I recognised 
their tender, half -entreating, half -commanding gaze, — I 
knew the little fleeting, wistful smile which said so little 
and yet so much — I felt that the striving, ambitious spirit 
of this man had sought mine as the help and completion 
of his own uplifting, and that I had misunderstood him 
and turned from him at the crucial moment when all might 
have been well. And I studied his picture long and ear- 
nestly, so moved by its aspect that I found myself talking 
to it softly as though it were a living thing. 

" I wonder if I shall ever meet you again? " I murmured 
— ^ Will you come to me ? — or shall I go to you ? How 
shall we find each other? When shall I be able to tell you 
that I know you now to be the only Beloved! — ^the one 
centre of my life round which all other things must for 
evermore revolve, — ^the very mainspring of my best thought 
and action, — the god of my universe from whose love and 
pleasure spring the light and splendour of creation ! When 
shall I see you again to tell you all that my heart longs to 
express ?^when may I fold myself in your arms as a bird 
folds its wings in a nest, and be at peace, knowing that I 
have gained the summit of all ambition and desires iti love.'^ 



{ 



428 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

perfect union? When shall we attune our lives together in 
that harmonious chord which shall sound its music sweetly 
through eternity? When shall our Souls make a radiant 
ONE, through which God's power and benediction shall vi- 
brate like living fire, creating within us all beauty, all wis- 
dom, all courage, all supernal joy? — For this is bound to 
be our future — but — ^when ? " 

Moved by my own imagining, I stretched out my arms 
to the picture of my love, and tears filled my eyes. I was 
nothing but the weakest of mortals in the sudden recollec- 
tion of the happiness I might have won long ago had I been 
wise in time ! 

A door opened quietly behind me, and I turned round 
quickly. Aselzion's messenger, Honorius, stood before me 
— and I greeted him with a smile, though my eyes were wet. 

" Have you come to fetch me ? " — I asked — ^^ I am 
ready." 

He inclined his head a little. 

" You are not quite ready " — he said — and with the word 
he gave into my hands a folded garment and veil — " You 
must attire yourself in these. I will wait for you outside." 

He retired and left me, and I quickly changed my own 
things for those which had been brought. They were 
easily put on, as they consisted simply of one long white 
robe of a rather heavy make of soft silk, and a white veil 
which covered me from head to foot. My attiring took me 
but a few minutes, and when all was done I touched the 
bell by which I had previously summoned Aselzion. 
Honorius entered at once — ^his looks were grave and pre- 
occupied. 

"If you should not return to this room," — he said, slowly 
— ''is there any message — ^any communication you wouW 
like me to convey to y out liitxidi^'i '' 



INTO THE LIGHT 429 

My heart gave a quick bound. There was some actual 
danger in store for me, then? I thought for a moment — 
then smiled. 

" None ! " I answered — " I shall be able to attend to all 
such personal matters myself — afterwards ! ** 

Honorius looked at me, and his handsome but rather 
stem face was grave even to melancholy. 

" Do not be too sure ! " — ^he said, in a low tone — " It is 
not my place to speak, but few pass the ordeal to which 
you are about to be subjected. Only two have passed it 
in ten years." 

" And one of these two was ? " 

For answer, he pointed to the portrait of Santoris, thus 
confirming my instinctive hope and confidence. 

" I am not afraid ! " I said — " And I am ready to follow 
you now wherever you wish me to go." 

He made no further remark and, turning round, led the 
way out of the apartment. 

We went down many stairs and through many corridors, 
— some dimly lit, some scarcely illumined at all. The night 
had now fully come, — ^and through one or two of the win- 
dows we passed I could see the dark sky patterned with 
stars. We came to the domed hall where the fountain 
played, and this was illumined by the same strange all- 
penetrating light I had previously noticed, — the lovely radi- 
ance played on the spray of the fountain, making the deli- 
cate frondage of ferns and palms and the hues of flowers 
look like a dream of fairyland. Passing through the hall, 
1 followed my guide down a dark narrow passage — ^then 
I found myself suddenly alone. Guided by the surging 
sound of organ music, I went on, — and all at once saw a 
broad stream of light pouring out from the open door o£ 
the chapel. Without a moment's hesitation, I entered — 



430 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

then paused — the symbol of the Cross and Star flamcc* 
opposite to me — ^and on every side wherever I looked there 
were men in white robes with cowls thrown back on their 
shoulders, all standing in silent rows, watching me as I 
came. My heart beat quickly, — ^my nerves thrilled — ^I trem- 
bled as I walked, thankful for the veil that partially pro- 
tected me from that multitude of eyes!— eyes that looked 
at me in wonder, but not unkindly — eyes that mutely asked 
questions never to be answered — eyes that said as plainly 
as though in actual speech — ^" Why are you among us ? — 
you, a woman ? Why should you have conquered difficulties 
which we have still to overcome? Is it pride, defiance, or 
ambition with you ? — or is it all love ? " 

I felt a thousand influences moving around me — ^the 
power of many brains at work silently cross-examined my 
inner spirit as though it were a witness in defence of some 
great argument — ^but I made up my mind not to yield to 
the overpowering nervousness and sudden alarm of my own 
position which threatened to shake my self-control. I fixed 
my eyes on the glittering symbol of the Cross and Star 
and moved on slowly — I must have looked a strangely soli- 
tary creature, draped in white like a victim for sacrifice 
and walking all alone towards those burning, darting rays 
of light which enveloped the whole of the chapel in a flood 
of almost blinding splendour. The music still thundered 
on round me — ^and I thought I heard voices far off singing 
— I could distinguish words that came falling through the 
music, like blossoms falling through rain : 

Into the Light, 

Into the heart of the fire ! 
To the innermost core of the deathless flame 

I ascend — I aspire ! 
Under me toWs tVv^ vi\v\iV\iv% ^arth. 



INTO THE LIGHT 431 

With the noise of a myriad wheels that run 

Ever round and about the Sun,— 
Over me circles the splendid heaven, 
Strewn with the stars of morn and even. 
And I, the queen 
Of my soul serene, 
Float with my rainbow wings unfurled. 
Alone with Love, 'twixt God and the world I 

My heart beat rapidly; every nerve in me trembled— 
yet I went on resolvedly, not allowing myself to even think 
of danger. 

And then I saw Asdzion — ^Asdzion, transfigured into an 
almost supernatural beauty of aspect by the radiance which 
bathed him in its lustrous glory! — Asdzion, with out- 
stretched hands beckoning me towards him — ^and as I ap- 
proached I instinctively sank on my knees. The music died 
away suddenly, and there was a profound silence. I felt, 
though I could not see, that the eyes of all present were 
fixed upon me. And Asdzion spoke : 

" Rise ! " he said — ^and his voice was clear and imperative 
— " Not here must thou kneel — not here must thou rest ! 
Rise and go onward! — ^thou hast gone far, but the way is 
still beyond! The gate of the Last Probation stands open 
—enter ! — and may God be thy Guide ! '* 

I rose as he commanded me, — and a dazzling flash of 
flight struck my eyes as though the heavens had opened. 
The blazing Cross and Star became suddenly severed in 
two separate portions, dividing asunder and disclosing what 
seemed to be a Hall of living fire ! Flames of every colour 
burned vividly, leaping and falling without pause or cessa- 
tion, — it was a kind of open furnace in which surely every- 
thing must be consumed! I looked at Asdzion in silent 
enquiry — ^not in fear — ^and in equally silent answer ^t-. 
pointed to the glowing vault. I understood — and witK^^ 



432 THE UFE EVERLASTING 

another moment's hesitation I advanced towards it. As in 
a dream I heard a kind of murmuring behind me — and sup- 
pressed exclamations from the students or disciples of Asel- 
zion who were all assembled in the chapel — but I paid no 
heed to this — ^my whole soul was set on fulfilling the last 
task demanded of me. Step by step I went on — ^I passed 
Aselzion with a smile — 

" Good-bye ! " I murmured — *' We shall meet again ! " 
And then I advanced towards the leaping flames. I felt 
their hot breath on my cheeks — ^the scorching wind of them 
lifted my hair through the folds of my veil — ^an idea came 
upon me that for some cause or other I was now to experi- 
ence that * Change which men call Death ' — ^and that 
through this means I should meet my Beloved on the othei 
side of life — and with his name on my lips, and a passionate 
appeal to him in my heart, I stepped into the glowing fire. 

As I did so, I lost sight of Aselzion — of the chapel and 
of all those who watched my movements, and found mysell 
surrounded on all sides by darting points of light which 
instead of scorching and withering me like a blown leaf in 
a storm, were like cool and fragrant showers playing all 
over me ! Amazed, I went on — ^and as I went grew boider. 
At one step I was bathed in a rain of delicate rays like 
sparkling diamond and topaz — at another a lovely violet 
light shrouded me in its rich hues — ^at another I walked in 
melting azure, like the hues of a summer sky — ^aiid the 
farther in I went the deeper and more glowing was the 
light about me. I felt it penetrating every pore of n:.y skin 
— I held my hands out to it, and saw them look trantparent 
in the fine luminance, — and presently, gaining courage, I 
threw back my veil and breathed in the radiance, as one 
breathes the air! My whole body grew light, and moved 
as though it floated rather than walked — I looked with un- 



INTO THE LIGHT 433 

fatigued, undazzled eyes at the glittering flames that 
sparkled harmlessly about me and which changed to lovely 
shapes of flowers and leaves beneath my feet, and arched 
themselves over my head like branches of shading trees — ^ 
and then all at once, down the long vista I caught sight 
of a Shape like that of an Angel ! — an angel that waited for 
me with watchful eyes and outstretched arms ! — it was but 
a moment that I saw this vision, and yet I knew what it 
meant, and I pressed on and on with all my Soul rising in 
me as it were, to go forth and reach that Companion of 
itself which stood waiting with such tender patience ! The 
light around me now changed to waves of intense luminance 
which swept upon me like waves of the sea — ^and I allowed 
myself to be borne along with them, I knew not whither. 
All at once I saw a vast Pillar of Fire which seemed to 
block my way, — ^pausing a moment, I looked and saw it 
break asunder and form the Cross and Star ! — I gazed up- 
ward, wondering — ^its rays descending seemed to pierce my 
eyes, my brain, my very soul! — I sprang forward, dazed 
and dazzled, murmuring, " Let this be the end ! " 

Someone caught me in his arms — someone drew me to 
his breast, holding me there as if I were Jhe dearest posses- 
sion of all the world or life or time could give — and a voice, 
infinitely tender, answered me — 

" Not the end, but the Endless, my beloved ! — Mine at 
last, and mine for ever ! — in triumph, in victory, in perfect 
joy ! " 

And then I knew! — I knew that I had found my lovel 
— ^that it was Rafel Santoris who thus held me in his close 
embrace, — ^that I had fulfilled my own iesire, which was 
to prove my faith if not my worthiness — that I had won j 
all I wanted in this world and the next, and that nothing 
could ever separate our Souls, otvfc Itoxcv >2e\& ^*^« -j^^ijiccX 



434 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

This is the deq) eternal ecstasy of a knowledge divind) 
shared by the very angels of God, and of such supernal 
happiness nothing can be said or written ! 

4t 4t 4t 

I pen these last words on the deck of the * Dream ' with 
my Beloved beside me. The sun is sinking in a glory of 
crimson — we are about to anchor in still waters. A rosy 
light flashes on our wonderful white sails, which will be 
presently furled; and we shall sit together, Rafel and I, 
watching the night draw its soft dark curtain around us, 
and the stars come out in the sky like diamonds embroidered 
on deep purple velvet, and listening to the gentle murmur 
of the little waves breaking into a rocky comer of the 
distant shore. And the evening will close on a day of peace 
and happiness, — one of the many imwearying, beautiful 
days which, like a procession of angels, bring us new and 
ever more perfect joy ! 

More than a year has elapsed since my ' Probation ' in 
the House of Aselzion, — since we, my Beloved and I, knelt 
before the Master and received his blessing on our eternal 
union. In that brief time I have lost all my * worldly ' 
friends and acquaintances, — ^who have, if I may so express 
it, become afraid of me. Afraid, chiefly, because I possess 
all that the world can give me without their advice and 
assistance — and not only afraid, but offended, because I have 
found the Companion of my Soul with whom they have 
nothing in common. They look upon me as ' lost to society ' 
and cannot realise how much such loss is gain ! Meanwhile 
we, Rafel and I, live our own radiant and happy lives, in 
full possession of all that makes life sweet and valuable, 
and wanting nothing thaX ova o^tv secret forces cannot 



INTO THE LIGHT 435 

supply. Wealth is ours — one of the least among the count- 
less gifts Nature provides for those among her children 
who know where to find her inexhaustible riches — and we 
also enjoy the perfect health which accompanies the con- 
stant inflowing of an exhaustless vitality. And though the 
thifitgs we attain seem * miraculous ' to others, so that even 
while accepting help and benefit at our hands, they frown 
and shake their heads at the attitude we assume towards 
social hypocrisies and conventions, we are nevertheless able 
to create such * influences ' around us, that none come near 
us without feeling stronger, better and more content, — ^and 
this is the utmost we are permitted to do for our fellow- 
creatures, inasmuch as none will listen to argument, and 
none will follow advice. The most ardent soul that ever 
dwelt in human form cannot lead another soul in the way 
of lasting life or lasting happiness if it refuses to go, — and 
there is no more absolute truth than this — That each man 
and each woman must make his or her own destiny both 
here and hereafter. This is the Law which changes not 
and which can never be subject to the slightest variation. 
Forgiveness of sins there is none — since every trespass 
against law carries its own punishment. Necessity for 
prayer there is none, — since every faithful wish and desire 
of the Soul is granted without parley. Necessity for praise 
there is much ! — since the Soul lives and grows in the glory 
of its Creator. And the whole Secret of Everlasting Life 
and Happiness is contained in the full possession and control 
of the Divine Centre of ourselves — ^this ' Radia ' or living 
flame, which must be dual in order to be perfect, and which 
in its completed state, is an eternal Force which nothing can 
destroy and nothing can resist. All Nature harmonises with 
its action, and from Nature it draws its perpetual sustenance 
and increasing power. 



436 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

To me, and my Beloved, the world is a garden of paradise 
— rich with beauty and delight. We live in it as a part of 
its loveliness — we draw into our own organisations the 
warmth of the sunlight, the glory of colour, the songs of 
sweet birds, the fragrance of flowers, and the exquisite 
vibrations of the light and air. Like two notes of a perfect 
chord we sound our lives on the keyboard of the Infinite — 
and we know that the music will become fuller and sweeter 
as the eternal seasons roll on. If it is asked why there 
should have been any necessity to pass through the psychic 
ordeal imposed on me by Aselzion, I reply — ^Look at the 
world in which men and women generally live, and say 
frankly whether its ways are such as to engender happiness ! 
Look at society — ^look at politics — ^look at commerce — ^all 
mere schemes for self-aggrandisement ! And more than all, 
look at the Sham of modem religion! Is it not too often 
a mere blasphemy and affront to the majesty of the Divine? 
And are not many, if not all these mistakes against Nature, 
— these offences against eternal Law, — the result of Man's 
own ' influence ' working in opposition to the very decrees 
of God, which he disobeys even while recognising that they 
exist ? 

The chief point of Aselzion's instruction was the test of 
the Brain and Soul against ' influences ' — ^the opposing influ- 
ences of others — ^and this is truly the chief hindrance to all 
spiritual progress. The coward sentiment of fear itself is 
born in us through the influence of timorous persons — ^and 
it is generally the dread of what ' other people will say ' 
or what ' other people will think ' that holds m back from 
performing many a noble action. It should be thoroughly 
understood that in the eternal advancement of one's own 
Soul * other people ' and their influences are hindrances to 
progress. It does not matter a jot what anybody thinks or 



INTO THE LIGHT 437 

says, provided the central altar of one's own Spirituality is 
dear and clean for the steadfast burning of the dual flame 
of Life and Love. All opinion, all criticism becomes absurd 
in such matters as these and absolutely worthless. 

It does not affect me that anyone outside my sphere of 
thought should be incredulous of my beliefs, — ^nor can it 
move me from my happiness to know that persons who live 
their lives on a lower plane consider me a fool for electing 
to live mine on the highest. I take joy in the fact that even 
in so selfish and material an age as this, Aselzion still has 
his students and disciples, — 2l mere handful out of the mil- 
lion, it is true, but still sufficient to keep the beautiful truth 
of the Soul's power alive and helpful to the chosen few. 
For such who have studied these truths and have mastered 
them sufficiently to practise them in the ordinary round of 
existence. Life presents an ever living happiness — and offers 
daily proof that there is no such thing as Death. Youth 
remains where Love is, and Beauty stays with health and 
vitality. Decay and destruction are changes which are 
brought about by apathy of the Will and indifference to the 
Soul's existence, and the same Law which gives the Soul 
its supreme sovereignty equally works for its release from 
effete and inactive substances. 

To those who would ask me how I am able to hold and 
keep the treasures of life, love and youth, which the ma- 
jority of mankind are for ever losing, I answer that I can 
say no more than I have said, and the lesson which all may 
learn is contained in what I have written. It is no use 
arguing with those whom no argument will convince, or 
trying to teach those who will not be taught. We — my 
Beloved and I— can only prove the truth of the Soul's abso- 
lute command over all spiritual, material and elemental 
forces by our One life and the 'way v}^VyN^\\r— '^^A^^^^^'^ 



438 THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

everything that is necessary and desirable for our progress^ 
comes on demand, — ^we, whom Science serves as an Alad- 
din's lamp, realising every imaginable delight — ^we, with 
whom Love, which with many human beings is judged the 
most variable and transitory of emotions, is the very Prin- 
ciple of Life, the very essence of the waves of the air 
through which we move and have our being. The attain- 
ment of such happiness as ours is possible to all, but there 
is only One Way of Attainment, and the clue to that Way 
is in the Soul of each individual htmian being. Each one 
must find it and follow it, regardless of all * influences ' 
which may be brought to bear on his or her actions, — each 
one must discover the Centre-poise of Life's movement, and 
firmly abide by it. It is the Immortal Creature in each one 
of us whose destiny is to make eternal progress and ad- 
vancement through endless phases of life, love and beauty, 
and when once we know and admit the actual existence 
of this Immortal Centre we shall realise that with it all 
things are possible, save Death. Radiating outward from 
itself, it can preserve the health and youth of the body it 
inhabits indefinitely, till of its own desire it seeks a higher 
plane of action, — radiating inwardly, it is an irresistible at- 
tractive force drawing to itself the powers and virtues of 
the planet on which it dwells, and making all the forces 
of visible and invisible Nature subject to its will and com- 
mand. This is one of those great Truths which the world 
denies, but which it is destined to learn within the next two 
thousand years. 

If anyone should desire to know the fate of Morton Har- 
land and his daughter, that fate has been precisely what 
they themselves brought about by their way of life and 
action. Morton Harland himself * died,' as the world puts 
it, of a painful and Wtvgetm^ d\^^as^ v^hich could have been 



INTO THE LIGHT 439 

cured had he chosen to take the means offered to him 
through Raf d Santoris. He did not choose, — ^therefore the 
end was inevitable. Catherine married Dr. Brayle, and they 
two now live a sufficiently wretched life together, — she, a 
moping, querulous invalid, and he as a ' society ' physician, 
possessed of great wealth and the position wealth brings. 
We never meet, — our ways are now for ever sundered. 
Mine is the upward and onward path — ^and with my Be- 
loved I ascend the supernal heights where the Shadow of 
Evil never falls, and where the Secret of Life is centred in 
the Spirit of Love. 



THE £ND 



HI 



lU 



The greatest pleasure in life is 
that of reading. Why not then 
own the books of great novelists 
when the price is so small 



fl[ Of all the amusements which can possibly 
be imagined for a hard-working man^ after 
his daily totl^ or in its intervals^ there is 
nothing like reading an entertaining book. 
It calls for no bodily exertion. It transports 
him into a livelier^ and gayer^ and more di^ 
versified and interesting scene^ and while he 
enjoys himself there he may forget the evils 
of the present moment. Nayy it accompanies 
him to his next day*s worky and gives him 
something to think of besides the mere 
mechanical drudgery of his every-day occu- 
pation — something he can enjoy while absent^ 
and look forward with pleasure to return to. 

Ask your dealer far a list of the titles 
in Burfs Popular Priced Fiction 



In buying the books bearing the 
A.L.Burt Company imprint you 
are assured of wholesome enter-- 
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Come Home. Stella G. S. Perry. 
Coming of Cassidy, The. Oarence B. Mulford. 
Coming of Co^grove, The. Laurie Y. Erskine. 
Coming of die Law, The. Charles A. Selzer. 
Communicating Door, The. Wadsworth Camp. 
Concerning Him. Introduced by the writer of *To M. L. G."* 
Confidence Man, The. Laurie V. Erskine. 
Conquest of Canaan, The. Booth Tarkington. 
Conquering Lover, The. Pamela Wynne. 
Conqueror Passes, A. Larry Barretto. 
Constant Nymph, The. Margaret Kennedy. 
Contraband. Clarence Budington Kelland. 
Copper Moon. Edwin Bateman Morris. 
Corbin Necklace, The. Henry Kitchell Webster. 
Corsican Justice. J. G. Sarasin. 
Corson of the J. C. Clarence E. Mulford. 
Cottonwood Gulch. Clarence E. Mulford. 
Court of Inquiry, A. Grace S. Richmond. 
Cow Woman, The. George Gilbert. 
Crime at Red Towers. Chester K. Steele. 
Crime in the Crypt, The. Carolyn Wells. 
Crimson Circle, The. Edgar Wallace. 
Crooked. Maximilian Foster. 
Crooked Cross, The. Charles J. Dutton. 
Crook's Shadow, The. J. Tefferson Farjeon. 
Cross Trails. Harold Bindloss. 
Cruel Fellowship. Cyril Hume. 
Cryder of the Big Woods. George C. Shedd. 
Cry in the Wilderness, A. Mary E. Waller. 
Crystal Cup, The. Gertrude Atherton. 
Cup of Fury, The. Rupert Hughes. 
Curious Quest, The. E. Phillips Oppenheim. 



PR 4604 .LS 1911b 
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C.1 




3 6105 040 853 b« 






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